Childhood obesity raises risk for high blood pressure
Overweight and obese children have an increased risk for high blood pressure as adults, according to a new study presented at the American Heart Association High Blood Pressure Research Scientific Sessions 2013.
Since 1986, researchers tracked the growth and blood pressure of more than 1,100 children from Indianapolis for 27 years. They found that 6 percent of children with normal weight had high blood pressure as adults, whereas 14 percent of overweight children had high blood pressure as adults, and 26 percent of obese children developed blood pressure.
One in three U.S. children and teens are overweight or obese, and these findings highlight the threat posed by childhood obesity, researchers said.
According to Sara E. Watson, M.D., study author and a pediatric endocrinology fellow at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University in Indianapolis, the new findings add to a growing body of evidence that heart disease may start in childhood.
Watson recommends that overweight and obese children can reduce their risk of high blood pressure through exercise and a healthy diet with minimal salt intake. It is important that pediatricians counsel patients on the risks of developing high blood pressure, Watson said.
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