When we think of someone with type 2 diabetes and elevated blood pressure, we would normally think of older adults with compounded diseases. However, TIME reports that such conditions are not just applicable to middle-aged individuals.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School have found that more and more kids are experiencing obesity, elevated blood pressure, and diabetes. They analyzed data on more than 3,000 kids who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 1988 and 1994 as well as 8,300 kids who answered the survey from 1999 to 2008.

They found that more participants from the latter group were overweight, which puts them at risk for “adult” diseases at an early age. Although none of the kids were diagnosed with hypertension (defined by a 140-90 threshold), those with levels 120-80 and above at a very young age were more prone to the condition later on in life. A separate study also revealed that more kids are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes these days.

Obesity seems to be the culprit behind this unhealthy trend, as too much fat may trigger numerous chronic conditions regardless of age. With more and more kids being diagnosed with “adult” diseases, this is definitely an important wake-up call for many parents. Try to stick to a healthier diet at home, and encourage your kids to live an active lifestyle.

(Photo by Phillip Dean via Flickr Creative Commons)

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