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Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Metabolic Syndrome and Teens

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As the rates of obesity rise in teens there is also a rise in a cluster of heart disease and diabetes risk factors known as metabolic syndrome. Obese teens are the most likely to have metabolic syndrome, which includes high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, low levels of "good" HDL cholesterol, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and excess belly fat.

Metabolic syndrome is known to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes in adults, and is related to a sedentary lifestyle and a poor diet. No matter what is causing it, the treatment is the same: more exercise, less sitting, and a healthier diet. It is all about lifestyle and setting in place the habits teens will need a s healthy adults. This cannot be treated with a pill, and the older teens get before they start dealing with it, the greater their chances are of developing diabetes, and heart disease.

When it comes to changing lifestyle, parents and family members all have to get on the same path. Families are systems and each system supports the habits - good or bad. If you have a teen who needs more exercise, fewer carbohydrates, less sugar, and more fruits and vegetables, chances are goo the whole family needs those things, and together you can make different decisions.

Photo credit: bratty_alli
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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.

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