Lead author Ashleigh May, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues examined health data on about 3,400 adolescents ages 12-19 from 1999 to 2008 participating in the CDC's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The survey included a detailed physical examination.
About one-third of adolescents were overweight or obese, which increases their risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and other health issues, May said.
The study published in the journal Pediatrics also found overall, half of overweight teens and nearly two-thirds of obese adolescents have one or more risk factors for heart disease, such as diabetes, high blood pressure or high levels of low-density lipoprotein, or the "bad" cholesterol. One-third of normal-weight adolescents had at least one risk factor for heart disease.