Excess Weight Tied to Increased Risk for High BP in Young Children

Risk for hypertension at age 6 higher for children with incident, persistent excess weight at age 4

WEDNESDAY, June 19, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Four-year-olds with excess weight have an increased risk for high blood pressure at age 6 years, according to a study published online June 12 in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Maira A. Ortiz-Pinto, from the Instituto de Salud Carlos III in Madrid, and colleagues examined the correlation of general and abdominal obesity with high blood pressure in a longitudinal study involving 1,796 participants assessed at baseline at age 4 years and at follow-up two years later. During a physical examination, blood pressure, body mass index, and waist circumference were measured.

The researchers found that obese 4-year-olds experienced average increases of 4 to 5 and 2.5 to 3 mm Hg in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, respectively, by the age of 6 years. The odds ratios for high blood pressure were 2.49 (95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.50 to 4.13) and 2.54 (95 percent CI, 1.27 to 5.07), respectively, for children with incident and persistent cases of excess weight (overweight or obesity) during follow-up compared with children maintaining a nonexcess weight. For abdominal obesity, the corresponding odds ratios were 2.81 (95 percent CI, 0.98 to 8.02) and 3.42 (95 percent CI, 1.38 to 8.49), respectively, for incident and persistent cases. There was no increased risk for high blood pressure for individuals who experienced remission to nonexcess weight.

"The myth that excess weight in children has no consequences hampers the prevention and control of this health problem," a coauthor said in a statement. "Parents need to be more physically active with young children and provide a healthy diet."

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