Childhood obesity may quadruple high blood pressure risk in adulthood

September 12, 2013, American Heart Association

Obese children quadruple their risk and overweight children double their risk of developing high blood pressure in adulthood, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association High Blood Pressure Research Scientific Sessions 2013.

Researchers tracked the growth and blood pressure of 1,117 healthy adolescents from Indianapolis for 27 years, starting in 1986, and found:

  • During childhood, 68 percent of the kids were a normal weight, 16 percent were overweight and 16 percent were obese. As adults, 119 of the participants were diagnosed with .
  • Six percent of normal weight children had high blood pressure as adults.
  • Fourteen percent of overweight children had high blood pressure as adults.
  • Twenty-six percent of obese children had high blood pressure as adults.

The findings highlight the posed by overweight and obesity in childhood. One in three U.S. children and teens are overweight or obese, meaning their is at least the 85th percentile or at least the 95th percentile for their age and gender respectively. Body mass index is the relationship between height and weight.

The study results are also part of the growing body of evidence that heart disease may start in childhood, said Sara E. Watson, M.D., study author and a pediatric endocrinology fellow at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University in Indianapolis, Ind.

"It is important that pediatricians counsel patients on the risk of high blood pressure associated with , and stress that a healthy diet, including reducing salt intake and exercise, may help reduce this risk," Watson said. "Interventions to prevent and treat obesity will play an important role in decreasing the significant burden of high blood pressure in adulthood."

Explore further: Overweight or obese kids at almost three times greater risk of high blood pressure

Related Stories

Overweight or obese kids at almost three times greater risk of high blood pressure

October 3, 2011
Overweight or obese children are at three times greater risk for high blood pressure than children of normal weight, according to researchers from the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University School of Medicine.

Five percent of US children, teens classified as 'severely obese'

September 9, 2013
About 5 percent of U.S. children and teens are "severely obese"—a newly defined class of risk, according to an American Heart Association scientific statement published online in the journal Circulation.

The effect of body mass index on blood pressure varies by race among children

September 21, 2012
Obesity in black children more severely impacts blood pressure than in white children who are equally overweight, according to a new study presented at the American Heart Association's High Blood Pressure Research 2012 Scientific ...

Officials: US kids eat too much salt

September 17, 2012
(AP)—American children eat as much salt as adults—about 1,000 milligrams too much, or the same amount as in just one McDonald's Big Mac hamburger. Extra salt is linked with higher blood pressure, even in kids, but government ...

Elevated blood pressure increasing among children, adolescents

July 15, 2013
The risk of elevated blood pressure among children and adolescents rose 27 percent during a thirteen-year period, according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension.

Recommended for you

A nanoparticle inhalant for treating heart disease

January 18, 2018
A team of researchers from Italy and Germany has developed a nanoparticle inhalant for treating people suffering from heart disease. In their paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the group describes ...

Starting periods before age of 12 linked to heightened risk of heart disease and stroke

January 15, 2018
Starting periods early—before the age of 12—is linked to a heightened risk of heart disease and stroke in later life, suggests an analysis of data from the UK Biobank study, published online in the journal Heart.

'Decorated' stem cells could offer targeted heart repair

January 10, 2018
Although cardiac stem cell therapy is a promising treatment for heart attack patients, directing the cells to the site of an injury - and getting them to stay there - remains challenging. In a new pilot study using an animal ...

Two simple tests could help to pinpoint cause of stroke

January 10, 2018
Detecting the cause of the deadliest form of stroke could be improved by a simple blood test added alongside a routine brain scan, research suggests.

Exercise is good for the heart, high blood pressure is bad—researchers find out why

January 10, 2018
When the heart is put under stress during exercise, it is considered healthy. Yet stress due to high blood pressure is bad for the heart. Why? And is this always the case? Researchers of the German Centre for Cardiovascular ...

Heart-muscle patches made with human cells improve heart attack recovery

January 10, 2018
Large, human cardiac-muscle patches created in the lab have been tested, for the first time, on large animals in a heart attack model. This clinically relevant approach showed that the patches significantly improved recovery ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.