By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS

Overweight boys walkingChildren are often just like their caregivers when it comes to sharing metabolic risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol and unhealthy levels of abdominal fat, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology/Lifestyle 2016 Scientific Sessions.

Researchers studied nearly 1,500 boys and girls, ages eight to 16, and 1,020 caregivers.

They found that girls were about four times and boys nearly seven times more likely to be obese when their caregivers were obese. After adjustments, girls and boys were likely to have similar trends as their caregivers’ measures of body fat, blood pressure and cholesterol.

In addition, when adult caregivers had at least one cardiovascular risk factor, the youth living in their homes were twice as likely to also have a cardiovascular risk factor.

These findings highlight the need for family-based healthy living interventions, according to the authors.