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In Hispanics, Young Adults Have Highest Obesity Levels

Latino young adults between the ages of 25 and 34 have the highest obesity rates, which could put them at higher risk for heart disease.

Younger adults are leading the obesity epidemic among U.S. Hispanics, research says.

A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found young Hispanic adults between 25 and 34 reported the most severe obesity, part of a Latino epidemic lead author Robert Kaplan said is "unprecedented and getting worse."

"This is a heavy burden being carried by young people who should be in the prime of life," Kaplan said, adding that men especially should be more conscious of maintaining healthy lifestyles and routine checkups.

More than 16,400 Hispanics from four U.S. cities, including Miami, San Diego, Chicago and the Bronx, provided data on the first large-scale study of body mass index and heart disease risk factors. Thirty seven percent of those in the study were Mexican, followed by Cubans(20 percent) and Puerto Ricans (16 percent). The examinations of participants included clinical measurements, questionnaires and venous blood specimens collected at fasting and again after consuming glucose.

Other major findings included that 18 percent of women and 12 percent of men had levels of obesity that could trigger health concerns. More than half of the severely obese participants had unhealthy levels of HDL cholesterol, or “good” cholesterol, and of inflammation. Blood pressure and diabetes were also commonly reported health issues.

— Natalie Daher