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New Hopkins Study Shows Tackling Obesity In Youth More Effective For Heart

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Christie Ileto joined WJZ's News Team in the fall of 2012. She...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)–Doctors say it’s never too late to lose weight.

But as Christie Ileto explains, a new Johns Hopkins study shows the sooner you peel the pounds, the better for your heart.

A study on obese mice suggests losing weight sooner in life rather than later will increase chances of repairing heart damage.

It’s no secret your heart is weakened when you’re obese.

But a new Hopkins study on obese mice shows losing weight early in life can help the heart repair itself.

Just ask Rev. William Wildberger.

“I was extremely obese. I was in 370s,” he said.

Wildberger, who was once battling congestive heart failure, is now 60 pounds lighter with a healthier heart.

“I used to take about 30 pills a day, and I’m down to about 10. I’m a regular old patient,”  Wildberger said.

Researchers say younger mice that lost weight were able to repair damage to their hearts, unlike older mice that shed the same amount of weight.

Hopkins cardiologist Dr. Lili Barouch says the message is clear.

“People shouldn’t wait until they have major problems,” Barouch said. “They should always try to lose weight as soon as possible.”

The two major factors for heart disease are obesity and age, and the longer we’re overweight, it could put our heart at risk.

According to the CDC, almost 30 percent of adults in Maryland are obese. That’s less than the national average but a figure doctors say is too high.

While it’s unclear at what point permanent damage is caused by poor diet, scientists say it’s never too late to make a change.

People can improve their diabetes and can improve their blood pressure, and Wildberger is a living testament.

Although the findings were in mice, they offer clues in what doctors should look for in humans.

Hopkins researchers say the study should encourage people who are obese to lose weight now in order to reduce heart disease later on.

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