According to a recent study published, in the journal Cardiology in the Young, obese and overweight adolescents have similar increased risks of developing cardiovascular disorders.
"Until recently, overweight in adolescence wasn't considered as important a risk as obesity for the development of cardiovascular disease. We found the risks to be similar in both cases," said study lead author Vitor Engracia Valenti, Professor at Sao Paulo State University in Brazil.
A small group of adolescents, aged between 10 and 17, participated in the study and a moderated exercise protocol was performed by them. It involved walking on a treadmill. To examine the speed of autonomic cardiac function recovery, the heart rate variability was measured before and after the exercise.
Prolonged autonomic nervous system imbalances after physical exertion have been shown to increase the risk of an acute event and of future cardiovascular disease, said study.
Previous studies have shown the longer the autonomic nervous system takes to stabilise after a period of exertion, the greater the risk of cardiovascular or metabolic disease, according to Professor Valenti.
As per the findings of the study, no significant difference in heart rate variability between obese and overweight adolescents or between boys and girls.
"These findings suggest overweight adolescents have the same predisposition or vulnerability as that of obese adolescents to cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension and heart failure, as well as to metabolic disorders like diabetes, dyslipidemia, and high levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol," Valenti said.