Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Teen Health

Font Size

Overweight, Obese Teens Show Early Heart Risks

Many Obese, Overweight Teens Have Heart Disease Risk Factors, Damaged Hearts
WebMD Health News

May 21, 2012 -- Two new studies show the early health risks the ever-enlarging number of obese U.S. teens face, from diabetes to heart damage.

According to new research from the CDC, many overweight and obese teens who appear otherwise healthy already have heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure. As many as 60% of obese teens are affected.

Many obese teens also have troubling physical changes in their heart, such as thicker heart muscle walls, according to another new study.

Even some teens who are normal weight have some heart disease risk factors, the CDC team found.

"Parents should be concerned and aware of these findings," says researcher Ashleigh L. May, PhD, an epidemiologist at the CDC.

"The main story here is that in addition to obesity, you need to be aware of these other potential risk factors for cardiovascular disease, that these risk factors are present relatively early," May tells WebMD.

The CDC study is published in Pediatrics, while the heart muscle findings are being presented today at the Heart Failure Congress 2012 in Belgrade, Serbia.

Teens and Heart Disease Risk: New Findings

The CDC researchers looked at nearly 3,400 teens and pre-teens, ages 12 to 19. They looked at 1999-2000 data and 2007-2008 data from a large national health study called NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey).

As body mass index (BMI) rose, so did the risk factors, May tells WebMD.

"As weight increases, we observed an increase in the percentage of adolescents who had at least one cardiovascular risk factor," she says.

Among these risk factors are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar.

The researchers found at least one heart disease risk factor present in:

  • 60% of obese teens
  • 50% of overweight teens
  • 37% of healthy-weight teens

May can't say why the healthy-weight teens had risk factors. "It could be poor diet, or lack of physical activity; we can't say for sure," she says.

The percent of teens who were found to have high blood pressure or be in danger of getting it didn't change between the two time periods.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

unhappy teen couple
mini cupcakes
teen couple
girl running with vigor
Sugary drinks
teen wearing toning shoes
young woman texting
teen boy holding a condom
Teen girls eating ice cream
teen sleeping
couple kissing
Taylor Swift