Autopsy studies of young people who died in accidents have shown that by the late teens, the heart blockages, the kind of lesions that cause heart attacks and strokes are in the process of developing The best opportunity to prevent heart disease is to look at children and adolescents and start the preventive process early. More than a third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese. The first signs that men are at higher risk of heart disease than women appear during the adolescent years despite the fact that boys lose fat and gain muscle in adolescence, while girls add body fat. Between the ages of 11 and 19, levels of triglycerides, a type of blood fat associated with cardiovascular disease, increase in the boys and drop in the girls. Levels of HDL cholesterol, the “good” kind that helps keep arteries clear, go down in boys but rise in girls. Blood pressure increases in both, but significantly more in boys. Insulin resistance, a marker of cardiovascular risk, which is lower in boys at age 11, rises until the age of 19 years. Any protection that the young women have for cardiovascular protection can be wiped out by obesity and hence obesity in girls at any cost should be handled on priority.

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