Children's Blood Pressure Rising

In the May 5, 2004 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association comes a study report that shows that blood-pressure levels are rising among young Americans. The study, suggested that the increase is partially attributable to an increased prevalence of children being overweight.

More than 5,500 children were involved in the study. All of the children were between the age of 8 to 17. The study was taken from 1988 to 1994 and again in 1999 and 2000. In that span of time, the blood pressure readings for the group had risen from an average blood pressure reading of 104 / 58 to an average of 106 / 61.

Paul Muntner of Tulane University in New Orleans, chief author of the report, commented, "These results suggest that in another 10 to 20 years we will be facing much higher rates of hypertension, heart disease and stroke as these children become adults." He continued by saying, " We assume a lot of the increase in blood pressure levels is related to changes in the way children are eating and exercising."

In the report, researchers said less than 30 percent of the overall blood-pressure increase noted in the study can be attributed to weight gain. The study recommended fighting high blood pressure among children and adolescents with programs that include weight control, increased physical activity, and changes in diet. "Such interventions could have a profoundly positive impact on the prevalence of high blood pressure in the United States," the report said.