Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Do children get high cholesterol and high blood pressure the same way adults do?"
My nephew is only 9, but he is extremely overweight. Is he at risk for adult problems like high cholesterol and high blood pressure?
Being extremely overweight can have detrimental effects on your health no matter how old or young you are. Thus, if your nephew is extremely overweight, he should (and his parents should) focus on helping him lose that weight to prevent future health problems and improve quality of life. Weight problems can cause many different health problems. You mentioned two of them, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. The other one which is probably more important overall is the development of diabetes. Kids that are very overweight have a much higher rate of developing diabetes earlier in life than kids of a normal weight. Diabetes is strongly associated with heart disease, kidney disease, and neurological disease. Thus, being extremely overweight can cause the lethal combination of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Since he is young, there is still time to prevent these detrimental problems from occurring. The next best step for your nephew is to schedule an appointment with his pediatrician. He or she can discuss the best methods for weight loss. These will include making major alterations to his diet, and implementing an exercise program. If needed, your nephew and his guardians may benefit from discussing a weight loss strategy with a nutritionist.