In an article released April 7, 2011, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that teenagers with a BMI (body mass index) in the high end of the “healthy” weight range to those with a BMI in the “risk for overweight” and “overweight” range have a significant risk for coronary heart disease in adulthood. Heart disease is the most common health problem in the United States.
The study found that the progression of atherosclerosis, the primary cause of heart disease, develops gradually and sets the stage for heart related problems in adulthood. Therefore, since coronary heart disease develops over a long period of time, it is important to maintain a healthy weight as a teen to reduce the risk of developing heart problems later in life.
It was also mentioned in the study that even if an overweight adolescent becomes healthy in adulthood and maintains a healthy weight with diet and exercise, the risk of developing coronary complications is still high. However, the risk will still be lower than that of the heavier teen who became an obese adult.
The study concluded that promoting healthy lifestyle habits in childhood is essential since the BMI of teenagers has long-term consequences later in life.