Heart disease and diabetes symptoms such as insulin resistance, abdominal obesity, hypertension, and high triglyceride levels (a cluster of traits known as metabolic syndrome), previously seen almost entirely in adults, are being found in adolescents in increasing numbers.
A study of this problem suggests that reducing intake of sugar-sweetened beverages during childhood could lessen the risk of chronic disease later on.
The study looked at traits such as blood pressure, waist circumference, and levels of HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose in more than 150 13-year-old girls, as well as their parents. The study looked at dietary, activity and lifestyle patterns starting from when the girls were 5.
Those at higher risk for metabolic syndrome also consumed the most sugary beverages between the ages of 5 and 9. That group of girls also had significantly greater increases in weight and fat mass between the ages of 5 and 13. All of those are risk factors for chronic diseases in later life.