28 Aug 2011

Starving to stay thin? Be prepared for heart disease

This must come up as a wake-up call for young girls starving to be size zero. Scientists have found that under-nutrition during adolescent years is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease in later life.

http://api.ning.com/files/rWk7oECg4WoinGXO4HahIQCx7af1bV9Ab2Y8wV42j0HIfWyajRT4Vl4-RgD2OqtyJbmbMw7FhkoV6SwOaR8*PAfyK4WG2edE/weightloss.jpgA study of almost 8,000 women who were children, teenagers or young adults during the Dutch famine in 1944-45 conducted by researchers from the University Medical Centre in Utrecht, the Netherlands, has shown that under-nutrition - particularly in adolescent years - is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease in later life.

Women, who were between 10 and 17 years at the start of the famine and who had been severely exposed to it, had a statistically significant 38% increased risk of coronary heart disease in later life. After incorporating factors like age at the start of the famine, smoking, and education, there was a 27% higher risk of heart disease for the severely exposed women as compared to those unexposed.

The study published on Thursday in the European Heart Journal has provided the maiden direct evidence that acute under-nutrition during the time that children are growing up can have an important impact on their future health. Doctors recommend that women eat 2,000 calories a day to stay healthy. But an increasing number of young girls in India are starving "to stay in shape".

Dr Sujay Shad, director of cardiac transplant at the Gangaram Hospital, said, "Young children sometimes aren't happy of their own body image or may emulate models by starving themselves, not growing at the age when they need to grow. Parents should be careful not to put undue pressure on them. "

"The Dutch famine of 1944-45 is a natural experiment in history, which gave us the unique possibility to study the long-term effects of acute under nutrition during childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood in otherwise well-nourished girls and women," write the authors of the study. This trend of youngsters not eating enough has also led to India facing an acute problem of osteoporosis, which is a result of young girls cutting down on food in order to have a good figure.

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