Obesity In Children, Teens Can Send Their Blood Pressure Soaring

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Children and teens who become or stay obese may quickly face up to three times the risk of developing high blood pressure compared to their slimmer peers, a new study says.

These findings are of particular concern because the high blood pressure in kids who went from overweight to obese, or those who stayed obese, developed in a short time — the study only lasted three years.

“These findings underscore the importance of developing and implementing early and effective clinical and public health strategies for obesity prevention,” said lead researcher Emily Parker. She is a research investigator at the HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research in Bloomington, Minn.

For the study, Parker and her colleagues collected data on more than 100,000 children and teens listed in the records of three major health systems in California, Colorado and Minnesota between 2007 and 2011. The children ranged in age from 3 and 17 years old.

During the three-year study, 0.3 percent of the children and teens developed high blood pressure.

“Having high blood pressure in children and adolescents is pretty rare, and we still need to know more about whether or not high blood pressure leads to greater risk of cardiovascular events later in life for these kids,” Parker said.

The researchers found that kids between 3 and 11 years old who went from overweight to obese had more than twice the odds of developing high blood pressure during the short study period. For older kids — those from 12 to 17 — the odds of high blood pressure were more than tripled, the research revealed.

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SOURCE: WebMD News from HealthDay
Steven Reinberg