-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Nov. 18, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Severely obese teens
are at increased risk for a host of serious health problems as
adults, including asthma, kidney disease and sleep disorders,
according to a new study.
"Most people understand that the longer you carry extra weight, the higher your chances of developing heart disease or diabetes," said study author Dr. Thomas Inge, professor of surgery and pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, in Ohio. "But now it seems that an even larger number of conditions should be added to the list of health problems that some obese teenagers will likely face down the road."
The study, published online Nov. 18 in the journal
Pediatrics, included more than 1,500 severely obese American
adults, aged 19 to 76. All were about to undergo weight-loss
surgery. They were asked about their weight at age 18 and then
assessed for medical problems related to obesity.
Forty-two percent of the participants were normal weight at age
18, the researchers found. But 29 percent were obese at 18,
including 13 percent who were severely obese. Ninety-six percent of
the participants had at least one obesity-related health
Severe obesity was defined as a body-mass index (BMI) of 35 or
greater -- 220 pounds or more for an average-height woman. BMI is a
calculation of body fat based on height and weight.
The researchers found that participants who were severely obese
as teens had a greatly increased risk of serious health problems
compared to those who were normal weight as teens.
They were four times more likely to have swollen legs with skin
ulcers; more than three times more likely to have severe walking
limitations and abnormal kidney function; and much more likely to
have asthma, diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea and polycystic ovary
syndrome, a condition that can cause cysts on a woman's
"As the number of children with severe obesity continues to increase, it is important for pediatricians to inform families about the short- and long-term health issues linked to this weight gain," Inge said in a medical center news release.
The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney
Diseases explains the
health risks of being overweight.
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