Over a third of American children are overweight or obese, and a study shows that this will have a devastating effect on their health as the risk for liver disease and other serious health problems grows much higher for these children putting their young lives at risk.
In a study by University of California San Diego School of Medicine, researchers found that children who were obese were at a higher risk for the nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, usually called NAFLD, which would also put them at a higher risk for strokes and heart attacks. In this study, they looked at those children who had already developed NAFLD and recorded their blood pressure. Of the 484 children between the ages of two and 17, around 36 percent already had high blood pressure which means that they are at higher risk for heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke.
Additionally, lead researcher on the project, Dr. Jeffrey Schwimmer from UCSD’s School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics said that “along with being at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, we found that children with NAFLD who had high blood pressure were significantly more likely to have more fat in their liver than children without high blood pressure. This could lead to a more serious form of liver disease.”
The study was published last month in PLOS One and echoes the growing body of research on childhood obesity. In addition to liver disease and high blood pressure, childhood obesity can also lead to diabetes, sleeping and breathing problems, and puts an enormous strain on their growing bones and joints. Fatigue and depression can often accompany obesity as well, but a balanced, whole foods diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats like those found in salmon and nuts, and reducing or eliminating refined sugars and processed foods can help children be healthy now and in the future. The American Heart Association also recommends that children be physically active for at least 60 minutes each day at a minimum.
America’s growing obesity problem is taking its toll on the health of American children, with one in five children becoming overweight by age six. One in three kids and teens are overweight, and the United States is facing a major health crisis as these children become plagued with life long illnesses and shortened life spans. It has been predicted that this generation will likely be the first in our history in which parents out live their children. The United States is steadily losing the fight for our kids and for the nation’s future, as childhood obesity rates will continue to rise if Americans do not make some dramatic changes in our food quality and way of life.