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Obesity epidemic may reverse current drop in heart disease rates

Narrator:    This is Science Today.  Although heart disease rates in this country have been dropping in recent decades, researchers are concerned about a potential reversal of this trend due to the obesity epidemic. Mark Pletcher is an associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco.

Pletcher:     There are a lot of factors in modern day life that are exerting pressure on adults and kids to be less active and to eat higher caloric foods, they're less nutrient-dense and to gain weight. That really can have some potentially disastrous public health consequences in terms of the cardiovascular disease epidemic in the United States.

Narrator:    Pletcher recently conducted a study, which found that cholesterol levels in young adults in their 20s and 30s can predict their future risk of heart disease.

    What we have to be very careful about is not overstating our findings in terms of recommendations for drug therapy.  

    Instead, Pletcher recommends young adults make healthier lifestyle choices. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.