About half of the US teenagers have high blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar levels, conditions which may lead to cardiovascular conditions like heart attack later in life.
The alarming finding was issued as a result of a new study by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published in the journal Pediatrics.
The survey which followed about 3,400 adolescents with Type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes revealed that the percentage of teenagers age 12 to 19 with those two high risk conditions nearly tripled from 9 percent in 1999 to 23 percent in 2008.
Fortunately, the new study found no increase in the levels of obesity, high blood pressure or bad cholesterol between 1999 and 2008.
However, the results showed that 50 percent of overweight young American people and 60 percent of obese adolescents had at least one risk factor for future heart disease.
Moreover, even 37 percent of normal-weight adolescents were found to have one risk factor for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the US adults.
“That was unexpected, especially since obesity has been leveling off,” lead researcher Ashleigh May of CDC told Reuters Health. “The question of why that is will require more research.”
The new figures have raised more concerns among physicians and health workers who never had thought some decade ago that they might see a child with type 2 diabetes.
“Fifteen years ago, I never saw Type 2 diabetes in children, only in people in their 60s and older,” said Dr. Robin Goland, co-director of the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center, NY. “Now I see kids 8 and 10 and 13. The fact that we have any number is a disgrace.”