Excerpt from article By RON WINSLOW Wall Street Journal
One of the reports, based on a pooling of data from four major studies that tracked people from early childhood into their 30s and 40s,suggests that the presence of such risk factors as high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol by about age 9 strongly predicts a thickening of the walls in the carotid or neck arteries in early adulthood. Experts consider this condition, called carotid intima media thickness, a precursor to heart attacks and strokes.
Four risk factors of heart disease:
• High total cholesterol
• High triglycerides or blood fats
• High body mass index
• High systolic blood pressure (the higher number)
Chances that children with these risk factors will develop early signs of cardiovascular disease as adults, by age of initial diagnosis, compared with children without risk factors:
Age 3: 1.17*
Age 6: 1.20*
Age 9 : 1.37
Age 12: 1.48
Age 15: 1.56
Age 18: 1.57
*Not statistically significant Source: Circulation
The second study found that children who consumed fruits and vegetables once a day had healthier arteries as young adults than those who reported eating fruits and vegetables less than twice a month. Low consumption was associated with stiffening arteries, a warning sign of future heart problems.