In 1960, about 10 percent of adult Americans were obese, overweight by 35 pounds or more. In 2012, the number has more than tripled at roughly 38 percent. Now, recent studies have revealed that American children are suffering from obesity and elevated cholesterol levels with ominous implications in the future. In America elevated cholesterol in children has increased to all time high levels.
So alarming are the findings that the Association of American Pediatrics has suggested that cholesterol screening should be convened at the age of three. The research was conducted on more than 12,000 children ranging in age from 9 to 11 years old. More than 30 percent of the children had elevated cholesterol levels and these levels may well increase as these “at risk” children age into adulthood. Researchers found that 1 to 2 percent of high cholesterol in children was inherited and due to problems with cholesterol regulation.
According to Steven Nissen, chairmen of the cardiovascular department in Cleveland Ohio, “there is no question that obesity and high cholesterol levels among children and adolescents is increasing at an alarming rate.” The study also found that not only did children have elevated “bad cholesterol” children also had lower levels of so called “good cholesterol.”
Participants in the study came from various ethnic, economic and cultural backgrounds and the research took place over a seven year period. It goes without saying that obesity increases the risk of having elevated cholesterol levels at any age.
More boys than girls in the study had elevated cholesterol levels. Typically, heart disease emerges in adulthood; however, the risk factors such as elevated cholesterol levels and obesity develop in childhood and adolescence. The concern among health researchers is escalating because as a nation, we are in the second decade where too many children and adolescents are experiencing being overweight or obese. The implications for these millions of Americans are very unsettling as they begin to age. Another indicator related to obesity is the sharp increase in type two diabetes among young Americans. Beyond the human cost and suffering that many of these Americans will encounter, the costs of these encounters may bring a frightful cost to the American health care system.