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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.

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

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