Canadian scientists have found that the blood vessels of obese children, as young as 13 years, have stiffness normally seen in ageing adults. It is believed that children who spend long hours in front of TV or computers, could also lead to obesity.
The British Columbia Children’s Hospital study involving 63 obese children with an average age of 13, found the signs of “stiffening” in the aorta — the largest artery in the human body — which is liked with cardiovascular diseases and early death.
“We were surprised to find that these obese children already have stiff blood vessels,” said Dr Kevin Harris, one of the researchers. “Aortic stiffness is an early indicator of cardiovascular disease in obese children,” Dr Harris said.
Aorta, according to the scientists, carries and distributes oxygen-rich blood to all the other arteries and normally acts as a buffer to the pumping action of the heart. Increased stiffness of the aorta is typically associated with ageing and is a strong predictor of future cardiac events and mortality in adults.
The study evaluated the obese children, who were about 25kg more than normal, and compared them with 55 normal weight children.