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Study: Obese Teens Showing Very 'Adult' Symptoms

Obese teens now show adult-like symptoms
Photograph by Getty Images/Fuse

Welcome to the future: where liver disease and high blood pressure now plague our kids, too.

Comforting thought, huh? According to a new study, though, it's an all-too-true reality. The government-funded research took a look at U.S. teens seeking weight-loss surgery when it turned up some troubling (though perhaps not hugely surprising) stats.

For one, the teens exhibited a wide variety of health problems that we're used to only seeing in ... well, ourselves. Three out of four had cholesterol problems, while almost half had high blood pressure or joint pain. Liver or kidney disease was also found in many of those studied.

Another disturbing takeaway: The kids who were studied all weighed three times more than what is considered "healthy." In other words, these weren't kids who "want to fit into that cheerleading outfit better," noted Dr. Thomas Inge, the study's lead researcher and surgeon at Cincinnati's Children's Hospital Medical Center.

Three out of four had cholesterol problems, almost half had high blood pressure or joint pain, and many had diseased livers or kidneys.

The study, which was released online Monday in JAMA Pediatrics, looked at a total of 242 teens who had surgery at five different U.S. centers between 2007 and 2011. The results, while upsetting, do reassure doctors that the drastic measure of weight-loss surgery really is worth the risk for some teens.

But it also highlights just how much work we have left to do when it comes to the obesity epidemic—which was just declared a disease a few months ago.

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