Diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure that people thought only a few years ago were common only among adults are now found to be crippling even the lives of some children.
For the study, researchers compared fat cell composition and biology in lean and obese children and adolescents.
Obese kids are more vulnerable to these diseases as researchers have found that when children become obese, beginning as early as age six, there was an increase in the number of adipose cells (fat cells).
These were larger in size than the cells in the bodies of lean children.
"Obese children start to have not only more but also larger fat cells at a very young age. This is associated with increased inflammation and linked to impaired metabolic function," said Antje Korner, a professor at University Children's Hospital at Leipzig in Germany.
The researchers also found evidence of dysfunction of the fat cells in obese children which can lead to insulin resistance, diabetes and other problems such as high blood pressure.