Washington: An early prevention and treatment of childhood depression can reduce adult cardiovascular disease, shows a study.

Depressed children are likely to be obese, smoke and be inactive that can lead to heart disease as early as their teen years.

Further, researchers observed higher rates of heart disease in the parents of adolescents that had been depressed as children.

“We were quite surprised to find that the parents of the affected adolescents were reporting a history of heart attacks and other serious events,” said associate professor of psychology Jonathan Rottenberg at University of South Florida in the US.

Rottenberg and his team compared heart disease risk factors – such as smoking, obesity, physical activity level and parental history – across three categories of adolescents.

The investigators surveyed over 200 children with a history of clinical depression, as well as about 200 of their siblings who have never suffered from depression.

They also gathered information from more than 150 unrelated children of the same age and gender with no history of depression.

Rottenberg plans to conduct additional research in order to understand why depression early in life may put people at increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

Cardiologists have long known a link exists between depression and heart disease.

Depressed adults are more likely to suffer a heart attack, and if they do have a heart attack, it’s more likely to be fatal.

The research is published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.

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