High blood pressure is no longer just a concern for adults, but for your children too. Recent studies presented at an American Heart Association conference show that the risk for high blood pressure in adulthood may be determined childhood. The good news is that if preventive measures can be taken, such as a change in diet and increased exercise, children can learn habits that will lead to lifelong health and wellness.
HISPANIC CHILDREN AND HBP Non-Hispanic blacks and Mexican Americans adolescents have a greater prevalence of high blood pressure and pre-high blood pressure than non-Hispanic whites, and the prevalence is greater in boys than in girls. Childhood obesity, a problem within the Latino community and elsewhere, can significantly contribute and indicate a child’s developing high blood pressure as an adult. Since one in three U.S. children are overweight or obese, this is an important factor to keep in mind.
Obese children have a quadrupled risk for adult hypertension, while overweight children have double the risk compared to normal weight children. A healthy diet, reducing salt intake and exercising are all ways to reduce this risk. Overweight and obesity in childhood shouldn’t be ignored. Effective weight management can minimize the risk for heart disease in a child’s future.
WHAT IS “OVERWEIGHT” IN CHILDREN? When defining overweight in children and adolescents, it’s important to consider both weight and body composition. Among American children ages 2-19, the following percentages of the population are considered overweight or obese, using the 95th percentile or higher of body mass index (BMI) values on the Centers for Disease COntrol (CDC) growth chart: