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article imageObese kids face blood pressure risk

By Tim Sandle     Mar 6, 2016 in Health
A new study shows blood pressure rises as children become overweight, emphasizing a new dimension to the obesity health concern among young people.
One-third of U.S. children aged between six and 17 years old are overweight or obese. While medics have long known of the connection between high blood pressure and being overweight; and that many young people have high blood pressure, no single study had drawn a connection between these two variables. Now, research from the Health Partners Institute for Education and Research in Minneapolis makes that connection.
Blood pressure is a term for how strongly blood pushes up against the inside of blood vessels. An overweight person has a bigger body, which means the heart needs to pump more blood. The extra blood presses hard on the walls of the blood vessels. When high blood pressure (hypertension) occurs this can lead to headaches, blurred vision and shortness of breath. Over the longer-term it leads to damage of the blood vessels and the heart.
The new research is a review, based on data relating to 101,606 children aged between the ages of three and 17. Data was drawn from medical records, according to Science News, from healthcare systems in Colorado, Minnesota and northern California. To be included in the assessment, a child had to have made three visits to a doctor each year.
From each visit, as a matter of course, information about weight, height and blood pressure is recorded. The researchers used this information to study for pastern. This revealed that obese children (as assessed using the Body Mass Index) were 4.5 times more likely to developed high blood pressure compared with those of normal weight. The group with the biggest rise, was teenage girls.
The research is published in the journal Pediatrics, in a paper titled "Change in Weight Status and Development of Hypertension."
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