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Obese Children Have Quadruple High Blood Pressure Risk

Update Date: Sep 12, 2013 06:39 PM EDT

Childhood obesity may quadruple a person's risk of high blood pressure, a new study suggests.

The latest research tracked the growth and blood pressure of 1,117 healthy adolescents from Indianapolis for 27 years, starting in 1986.

The findings revealed that 68 percent of children were of normal weight, 16 percent were overweight and 16 percent were obese.

Researchers found that 119 of the participants were diagnosed with high blood pressure as adults.  The findings revealed that six percent of normal weight children 14 percent of overweight children and 26 percent of obese children had high blood pressure as adults.

Researchers said the latest findings highlight the public health threat posed by overweight and obesity in childhood. The study is important because one in three American children and teens are overweight or obese. Researchers said that the latest findings also support previous findings that heart disease starts in childhood.

"It is important that pediatricians counsel patients on the risk of high blood pressure associated with overweight and obesity, and stress that a healthy diet, including reducing salt intake and exercise, may help reduce this risk," study author Sara E. Watson, M.D., a pediatric endocrinology fellow at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University in Indianapolis, Indiana, said in a news release. "Interventions to prevent and treat obesity will play an important role in decreasing the significant burden of high blood pressure in adulthood."

The study was presented at the American Heart Association High Blood Pressure Research Scientific Sessions 2013.

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