FRIDAY, Oct. 15 (HealthDay News) -- For overweight children,
losing just a little weight can significantly lower their blood
pressure, according to researchers from Indiana University School
High blood pressure, or hypertension, in children sets the stage
for complications later in life, such as heart disease, stroke and
diabetes, they noted.
"The effect of weight on blood pressure is very different in children in different weight categories," said lead researcher Wanzhu Tu, an associate professor of medicine.
"For obese and overweight children, even a small reduction in weight will produce a stronger benefit in blood pressure control," Tu added, while for normal-weight children, blood pressure is not so dramatically affected.
The results of the study were to be presented Friday at the
American Heart Association's High Blood Pressure Research
scientific sessions in Washington, D.C.
For the study, Tu's team collected blood pressure data on 1,113
children. The researchers compared the children's body mass index
(BMI, a measure of body weight) to charts depicting normal blood
pressure based on age, sex and height.
The study authors found that BMI had little effect on blood
pressure among normal-weight children, but it had a significant
effect on overweight children.
In fact, among overweight boys, BMI had an effect on their
systolic blood pressure reading that was 4.6 times the effect found
among normal-weight boys. The findings were similar among girls,
Tu's group added.
Commenting on the study, Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a professor of
cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, said that
"obesity is a serious health concern for children and
Obesity and overweight in childhood are well-documented to be
associated with high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels,
reduced insulin sensitivity, and abnormal blood vessel function,
"Aggressive steps are needed to prevent and treat obesity in childhood and adolescence to avoid subsequent cardiovascular health problems in adulthood," Fonarow said.
As part of the obesity epidemic in the United States, high blood
pressure among children seems to be very common.
In another presentation at the meeting, researchers collected
blood pressure readings on more than 62,000 fifth graders from West
The investigators found that 19.7 percent had blood pressures
that were higher than normal for their sex and height.
For more information on high blood pressure, visit the
American Heart Association.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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