80 Percent of U.S. Adolescents have Poor Diet, Leading Cause of Health Complications

First Posted: Apr 01, 2013 09:31 AM EDT

Low levels of physical activity in adolescents combined with an unhealthy diet have been linked to a higher risk of teens growing up with some serious health complications, according to a recent study.

The National Health and Nutrition Survey found that approximately 80 percent of 4,200 participants between 12 and 19 years of age shown in the survey had a poor diet. To add to that, the study also found that less than 50 percent of all girls and just a bit shy of 67 percent of boys got the recommended amount of daily exercise needed. It was also reported that a third of all teenagers in the United States also had poor or intermediate cholesterol levels.

"The far less-than-optimal physical activity levels and dietary intake of current U.S. teenagers is translating into obesity and overweight that in turn is likely influencing worsening rates of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and blood glucose at these young ages," said Christina M. Shay from the University of Oklahoma and lead author of the study, according to Nature World News.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that 17 percent of all children in the U.S. or 12.5 million children and teens in the country are affected by obesity. Obesity can  play a huge risk factor for many that may pose serious health risks.

"The status of heart health during childhood has been shown to be a strong predictor of heart health in adulthood. Members of the medical and scientific community, parents, teachers and legislators all need to focus their efforts on the prevention and improvement of all aspects of cardiovascular health-particularly optimal physical activity levels and diet-as early in life as possible, begging at birth," Shay said.

The study is published in the journal Circulation

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