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Adolesc Med. 2001 Feb;12(1):147-62.

Cardiovascular risk factors in adolescents: relevance, detection, and intervention.

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Division of Cardiology, The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, 555 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M5G 1X8, Canada.


Recent epidemiologic studies have documented worrisome trends towards increasing obesity and increased cigarette smoking in adolescents. Since cardiovascular risk factors have been shown to persist into adulthood, this may translate into an epidemic of cardiovascular disease in the future. Health care providers should assume some responsibility for the prevention, detection, and intervention relevant to cardiovascular risk factors in adolescents, which include hyperlipidemia, hypertension, obesity, and tobacco use. Promotion of a healthy lifestyle, including a low-fat prudent diet, regular physical activity, and avoidance of risky behaviors should be incorporated into health maintenance encounters. Interventions directed at the adolescent must take into account their social milieu, particularly the family, school, and community. Adolescents should be empowered through education and skill development to assume increasing responsibility for their own health behaviors.

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