More than 17 percent of children in North Carolina are obese, and according to local pediatricians that number continues to rise. A new study from the American Heart Association finds the majority of obese children have the thick fatty arteries of a 45 year old. 16-month-old Jaida Dorsey is visiting the doctor for her regular check-up. "Jaida is a little bit overweight. She's not even 2 years old now, but now is when it starts and we know that children who start overweight, tend to remain overweight," said David Hill from Cape Fear Pediatrics. To make sure Jaida's grandmother knows the dangers of childhood obesity, he tells her about the newest childhood obesity study that found the arteries of obese kids can be as thick and packed with fat as a middle-aged adult. "The concern is that these obese children are already showing signs that they're likely to have heart disease the kind that causes strokes and kidney disease," said Hill. "These kids are aging before their time, because of the obesity they are going to see more diseases in there life sooner than they would if they were healthy." Vatrice Robinson, Jaida’s grandmother said, "It makes you concerned because that means that they can have the same types of illnesses like old people, clogged arteries heart disease cholesterol problems and that's not good for kids because they're supposed to enjoy life and be active." The damage can be reversed by reducing obesity and changing the child's lifestyle; advice Vatrice Robinson is taking to heart. "I want to make sure she stays active and make sure she doesn't have a lot of sweet foods and juices like she's supposed to," she said. Doctor Hill said the study is important, because it lets parents know what diseases obese kids could face in the future. He also hopes the study emphasizes the importance of being a normal weight.
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