Teen Obesity a Killer in Middle Age

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August 01, 2006 | 6,002 views

Women who are overweight at the age of 18 have a greater chance of dying young.

A study of more than 100,000 female nurses demonstrated that those who were overweight or obese at 18 were more likely to die between the ages of 36 and 56. They also were likely to drink more alcohol and smoke more, and were less likely to exercise.

Women who were moderately overweight at 18 were more than half as likely to die young, and obese teens were more than twice as likely to die. Causes of death included cancer, heart disease, stroke and suicide.

One-third of children and teens in the United States -- 25 million total -- are either overweight or on the brink of becoming so, according to a recent government survey.

The evidence continues to mount about the growing number of overweight or obese children suffering from health problems more commonly associated with middle-aged people. It's no surprise that obesity during the teen years elevates a woman's mortality risks once she reaches middle age.

Even women who had never smoked were found to be more likely to die if they were overweight as teens; obesity is far more damaging to your health than smoking.

If we fail to reverse the epidemic of obesity sweeping the world, we will, for the first time in history, see children living shorter lives than their parents.

I am convinced, however, that we can stop this devastating trend and make the necessary changes to end this epidemic before it gets much worse. I believe parents will see the light very soon and make the changes it takes to save the lives of their children. That means, above all, being a good role model.

You can start by reviewing the seven risk factors for childhood obesity:

  • Early size
  • Early body fat
  • High birth weight
  • Having obese parents
  • Quick growth from ages 1-2
  • Watching more than eight hours of TV a week
  • Getting less than 10.5 hours of sleep at night

And then take steps to get your children healthy and active:

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