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By Bonnie Juettner

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Obese children and teens, unlike obese adults, have the chance to try to lose weight before the damage to their health is permanent. And, unlike adults, they are motivated—they usually want to be able to play basketball or ice skate or go bicycling with friends. Recovery from childhood obesity is possible—with some education from doctors and support from one’s family. FACTS • About 7 percent of obese children aged 5 to 17 have at least 1 risk factor for heart disease. About 39 percent of obese children have 2 or more risk factors.

They were trying to find out if the girls had been exposed to phthalates—a chemical that is used in plastic and in personal care products. Phthalates are in many common everyday objects. They are in plastic toys, pacifiers, and vinyl siding used on houses. They are also in certain kinds of makeup and nail polish. To find out if children had been exposed to phthalates, researchers took urine samples. They tested the urine for phthalate concentration. “The heaviest girls have the highest concentrations of phthalates metabolites in their “You don’t put urine,” explained researcher Philip Landrigan.

19 Atherosclerosis is a serious disorder. Doctors say that thickening of the arteries is the leading cause of death in the United States. It causes both heart attacks and strokes. 2 million Americans have heart attacks every year. About 870,000 of those heart attacks turn out to be fatal. It used to be the case that heart attack patients were mostly over the age of 40. But as more children become obese, cardiologists expect to see more heart attacks happening to young adults and to adults in their 20s and 30s.

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