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Severely obese children at risk for heart disease

Nearly two-thirds of obese children exhibit early warning signs of heart disease.

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A new study shows nearly two-thirds of obese children exhibit symptoms of heart disease. (John Moore/AFP/Getty Images)

Heart disease is affecting a much younger demographic than previously thought. According to a new Dutch study, children as young as 2 years old are exhibiting symptoms of heart disease. 

The findings published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, showed that of the 500 children followed between 2005 and 2007, 307 were classed as severely obese. Of the 307 obese children, nearly two-thirds exhibited at least one early symptom of heart disease such as high blood pressure, BBC News reported. 

According to BBC News, 2-year-olds with a body mass Iindex greater than 20.5 are classed as severely obese.

The Telegraph noted that nearly one in three severely obese children came from one parent families.

According to the UK Press Association, the authors found that younger boys were more often severely obese compared to older boys, while they found the reverse for girls.

Doireann Maddock, the British Heart Foundation senior cardiac nurse, told the Press Association that although the study was small, the findings "leave a bad taste in the mouth," adding that childhood obesity is a huge concern. "However, this is a problem that can be addressed by stopping young people becoming overweight and obese in the first place. Highlighting the importance of healthy eating and physical activity from an early age will help protect the heart health of future generations."

More from GlobalPost: Obesity epidemic: panel urges doctors to prescribe counseling, not meds

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/health/120724/severely-obese-children-at-risk-heart-disease