A study conducted by researchers from the University of California found that obesity had more of an impact on teenage girls, when compared against teenage boys.
The study, led by Dr. Rudy Ortiz, found that girls had thrice the risk of higher blood pressure, based on data gathered from 1,700 study participants, aged 13 to 17. The teenagers had their blood pressure measured; their body mass index (BMI), which is a measure of the ratio between height and weight, was also recorded.
Dr. Ortiz shared: “Overall, there is a higher likelihood that those who present with both higher BMI and blood pressure will succumb to cardiovascular complications as adults… But the findings suggest that obese females may have a higher risk of developing these problems than males.”
The difference, Dr. Ortiz said, may be attributed to differences in the exercise levels of teenage girls and boys. Girls, he said, are usually less physically active when compared to boys in the same age group: “Obese adolescent females participate in 50 to 60% less physical activity than boys in the population surveyed.”
In the United Kingdom, one-third of young people are either overweight or obese, according to a spokesperson for the British Heart Foundation. Natasha Stewart, senior cardiac nurse at the Foundation, said that the study lends even more credence to the dangers posed by obesity on the health of children. She shared: “Healthy eating and physical activity during childhood is vital to ensure growth, development and a pattern of healthy habits which will carry through into adulthood.”
The study was presented during the conference of the American Physiological Society.