According to a new study from the American Heart Association (AHA), a whopping 80 percent of American teenagers are eating foods that will make them prime candidates for heart disease.
The study’s researchers found teens in the U.S. are eating too much fat, salt and sugar and not eating enough fruits and vegetables.
Only one percent of the teenage participants in the study consumed what the AHA considers a perfectly healthy diet. And to make matters worse, they don’t exercise enough, said study leader Christina Shay from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Physicians and the AHA are concerned because teenagers tend to get away with eating the wrong foods, especially since their young bodies are still growing. Indeed, many parents look the other way when it comes to their teenager’s poor eating habits, making excuses that they’re just teenagers who are going through a growth spurt.
The problem, however, is that growth spurt may turn into the growth of something unwanted – like a growing girth that leads to the accumulation of fatty deposits inside their arteries. And that, in turn, can lead to obesity – one of the major contributors to heart disease and other health problems.
“Autopsy findings reported more than a century ago identified fatty streaks in the large arteries of children as young as 6 years of age,” Shay’s team wrote in their report, published in the journal Circulation. Indeed, more recent studies have found actual evidence of early heart disease in children.