Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is not only a problem viewed in adults, but also exacts a terrible toll on the young people.

The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute states that
"Heart disease in infants, children, and adolescents is a large and under-appreciated public health problem".

Because children have a long life ahead, the burden and cost of children's heart disease are substantial for families and society.
More than 1 million adults are alive today who have had a heart defect repaired during childhood.

Congenital heart defects (CHD) are the most common type of birth defect. They affect 8 out of every 1,000 newborns. An estimate of 35,000 babies or more are born per year with congenital heart defects in the United States. There are many types of congenital heart defects. They range from simple defects with no symptoms to complex defects with severe, life-threatening symptoms.
Patients with CHD present unique nutritional challenges, as they generally have higher energy and nutrition needs. Yet, many factors negatively impact their abilities to consume, absorb or utilize nutrients. As such, many infants require supplemental enteral nutrition (tube feeding) or parenteral nutrition to promote achievement of "catch-up" weight gain and linear growth.

On the other hand, the relationship between childhood
obesity and subsequent cardiovascular risk has been well-described.

Pediatric cardiologists have found that children born with CHD are now becoming
overweight and obese at rates similar to those of the general pediatric population. This raises the specter of adding all of the risk implicit in obesity to a group of children already at increased risk of adverse cardiovascular outcome.

Finally,
Obesity now affects 17% of all children and adolescents in the United States, three times the rate from just one generation ago. About 10% of adolescents 12-19 years of age have a high overall cholesterol level, a risk factor for CVD.

Strong evidence shows that youth with a family history of CVD and diabetes already show signs of the diseases.
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