Children who are obese or who have high cholesterol also show early signs of heart disease, according to a new study. Results of the study were unveiled at a recent American Heart Association conference. The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine, has not yet been published.

The study was small, involving 70 children ages 6 to 19, and experts said the results would need to be replicated to be considered conclusive. But the researchers’ method of measuring artery wall thickness, using ultrasound technology, is considered to be a reliable indicator of heart disease risk.

"I think this is a red flag," said the study’s lead author, Dr. Geetha Raghuveer, a cardiologist and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine. "These kids are more similar to middle-aged adults."

The study is considered by many to be part of a growing body of research that childhood obesity in the United States likely will result in increased incidents of heart disease as children age.
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