Forecast: Tsunami of Heart Disease
Overweight Kids Become Adults With Sick Hearts; Huge Problem Seen by 2035
WebMD News Archive
Tsunami of Heart Disease Predicted continued...
A computer simulation by Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, PhD, and colleagues at the
University of California, San Francisco, suggests that today's teen obesity
epidemic means that by 2020, 30% to 37% of 35-year-old men and 34% to 44% of
35-year-old women will be obese.
By 2035, there would be up to a 16% increase in heart disease cases, with
over 100,000 cases due to obesity, the researchers predict.
Both the Baker and Biggins-Domingo reports appear in the Dec. 6 issue of
The New England Journal of Medicine.
In an editorial accompanying the studies, Harvard researcher David S.
Ludwig, MD, PhD, predicts that by 2050, the U.S. obesity epidemic will cut
Americans' life span by two to five years. That effect would be equal to the
effect of all cancers combined.
"We lack anything resembling a comprehensive strategy for encouraging
children to eat a healthful diet and engage in physical activity," Ludwig
He suggests that a sensible strategy would:
- Regulate junk-food advertising
- Fund healthy lunches and physical activities at school
- Restructure farm subsidies to reward production of nutrient-dense produce
rather than calorie-dense produce
- Require that insurers cover programs to prevent and treat child
At the bottom of the Pandora's box of child obesity, Baker finds hope.
"Even though we are showing that children's body size puts them at risk,
there is still a ray of hope in what we find," she says. "Because risks
are moderate at age 7 and increase by age 13, it suggests that helping these
children attain and maintain appropriate weight -- even during this short time
-- can really improve their future outlook."