Overweight Children Risk Hypertension

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 (UPI) — Overweight youth are at risk for high blood pressure, but even dropping a few pounds can lower their blood pressure, U.S. researchers say.

Likewise, just a small increase in weight could put children at much greater risk of higher blood pressure, Dr. Wanzhu Tu of the Regenstrief Institute in Indianapolis says.

Tu was the study co-author for a research team that tracked blood pressure, height and weight measurements in more than 1,000 children for up to 10 years.

The researchers report a child with body mass index above the 85 percentage point was considered overweight and at risk. Below this level, weight effects on blood pressure appear fairly linear, but for those above the 85 percent point — and especially above the 90 percent point — the effects of added weight were noticeably stronger.

The effect on both systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings of overweight children was more than four times that of normal-weight children for whom BMI and blood pressure remained related but with weaker associations.

The findings were presented at the American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure Research scientific sessions in Washington,

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