School Students Show Signs of Heart Disease and Diabetes
Heart disease and diabetes are usually associated with adults, but a pilot study in the US has found one-third of school students in Years 7 and 8 had high cholesterol or abnormal blood sugar levels – early warning signs of heart disease and diabetes.
Children in Ohio aged between 12 and 14 had blood tests to screen for cholesterol and blood sugar levels. A high proportion, 42%, were either overweight or obese, more than the US national average. In Australia, 28% of children are overweight or obese, increasing their risk of health problems.
The America Centres for Disease Control and Prevention estimate 7% of US children aged between 6 and 19 have high cholesterol, a known risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Many parents are unaware, as there are no symptoms.
Diet is strongly linked to health outcomes, and it is vital for children to develop healthy habits early, including eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, exercising regularly and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle.
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