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Depressed Children More Likely to Suffer Heart Disease

Update Date: Jan 31, 2014 05:02 PM EST

Depression in childhood may increase the risk of heart disease, according to a new study.

Researchers also found that depressed children are more likely to be obese, smoke and be inactive and can show the effects of heart disease as early as their teen years.

The latest study also reveals higher rates of heart disease in parents of adolescents that have suffered depression as children.

"Given that the parents in this sample were relatively young, we were quite surprised to find that the parents of the affected adolescents were reporting a history of heart attacks and other serious events," Jonathan Rottenberg of the University of South Florida explained in a news release.

Previous studies have linked depression to heart disease. Adults who are depressed are more likely to suffer heart attacks and are more likely to die from heart attacks. However, it was unclear how early in life the association can be detected.

The latest study involved Hungarian children who had participated in a 2004 study of the genetics of depression. Researchers surveyed more than 200 children with a history of clinical depression, as well as about 200 of their siblings who have never suffered from depression and 150 unrelated children of the same age and gender with no history of depression.

The findings are published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.

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