Friday, April 19, 2013

Unhealthy Teens Could Lead to a Rise in Heart Disease Rates

Less than half of U.S. adolescents are living heart-healthy lives, and lack of exercise and poor diets could be creating a new generation of heart-disease patients. It's no surprise that American adolescents aren't the healthiest eaters, and that they aren't as physically active as they should be. But a new survey from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center confirms the fear that the current generation of teens could be at greater risk of heart disease than their parents if they don't change their behaviors.

A group of teens were polled and tested over a period of two years. Researchers found that these teens were a sedentary group that ate unhealthy foods. More than 80% ate what the researchers rated as a poor diet - high in fast foods and processed foods as well as sugar-sweetened drinks, and low in fruits and vegetables and whole-grain products.

The scientists ranked the children's heart-disease risk behaviors according to how well they complied with the seven factors that the American Heart Association (AHA) recently defined as critical for optimal heart health: maintaining a healthy body weight; eating a healthy diet; being physically active; keeping blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose within normal ranges; and not smoking. If the teens met the recommended requirements, their behavior was rated as ideal; if they fell short, their compliance was considered poor; and if they fell in between, the researchers ranked them as intermediate.

Only 45% of boys and 50% of girls in the study met five or more of these criteria, and less than 1% of the teens were eating an ideal healthy diet. Read more.

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