A study just published in Archives of Disease in Childhood found that warning signs of heart disease — typically considered a disease of middle age — have been found in obese children as young as 2-years-old.
Researchers from VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam studied 307 severely obese children between the ages of 2 and 18. Two-thirds of the children had at least one sign of heart disease, such as high blood pressure. Only one of the children in the study was obese due to a medical condition.
“Remarkably, 62% of severely obese children under 12 years of age already had one or more cardiovascular risk factors,” and more than half had high blood pressure, according to the study. If the health of severely obese children is not improved, they have a significantly high chance of developing coronary heart disease later in life.
As of now, there is no internationally recognized standard for what constitutes obesity in children.