-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Overweight and obese
children have a high risk of developing high blood pressure, a new
Researchers analyzed the health records of nearly 250,000
children, aged 6 to 17, in California, and found those who were
overweight were twice as likely as normal-weight children to have
high blood pressure (hypertension).
The risk was four times higher in moderately obese children and
teens, and 10 times higher in those who were extremely obese,
according to the study, which was published Oct. 10 in the
Journal of Clinical Hypertension.
The researchers also found that 10 percent of extremely obese
children and teens have high blood pressure and nearly half of them
have occasional blood pressure readings in the high range.
"This study's findings suggest that pediatricians need to be particularly vigilant about screening overweight and obese children for hypertension because high blood pressure can be asymptomatic for many years," study lead author Corinna Koebnick, a researcher at Kaiser Permanente Southern California's Department of Research and Evaluation, said in a Kaiser news release.
Another researcher agreed. "High blood pressure in children is a
serious health condition that can lead to heart and kidney
disease," study co-author Dr. David Cuan, of the department of
pediatrics at Kaiser Permanente Riverside Medical Center, in
Riverside, Calif., said in the news release.
"While it is generally recommended that pediatricians measure blood pressure in children 3 years and older at every health care visit, this study shows the importance of screening overweight and obese young people in particular as they have an increased likelihood of hypertension," Cuan said.
The study findings also suggest that current classification
methods for overweight and obesity in children may be an effective
tool for identifying children at high risk for high blood pressure.
The researchers found that being classified as overweight was an
indicator for prehypertension, and being classified as obese was an
indicator for hypertension.
About one in three children in the United States is overweight
The National Kidney Disease Education Program has more about
children and high blood pressure.
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