Obesity in children – trouble ahead?

Obesity can lead to vascular changes that contribute to heart disease and stroke risk. Until recently, little has been known about how body fatness and diet might affect vascular function in young children.

A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition examined how children’s’ protein and milk intakes could affect their vascular function (as estimated by measurements of ‘arterial stiffness’).

Children drinking less than 250ml milk daily underwent a series of health checks. They also completed a 4-day food diary and had their arterial stiffness measured using pulse wave velocity methods.

Scientists found that high levels of abdominal body fat and high protein diets were significantly linked to increased levels of arterial stiffness. Higher milk intakes were associated with less arterial stiffness. The results suggest that the adverse impact on heart health caused by obesity is happening earlier than previously believed.