Posts Tagged ‘Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association

More fat in kids raises blood pressure risk: study

- October 4th, 2011

fat-kid

This just in: Overweight or obese children have almost three times the risk of high blood pressure compared to children at normal weight.

Here’s the press release:

DALLAS (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — If your children are
overweight or obese, their risk of having high blood pressure is almost
three times higher than children at normal weight, according to new
research in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.

A study of 1,111 healthy Indiana school children over a period of 4.5
years revealed that when the children’s body mass index (BMI) reached
or passed the 85th percentile — the beginning of the overweight
category — the adiposity effect on blood pressure was more than four
times that of normal weight children. Adiposity is fat under the skin
and surrounding major organs.

The absolute value of BMI is not used to classify weight status in
children, because change in BMI is normal and expected as children grow
and develop. Instead, BMI percentiles are used which adjust for age and
gender.

Researchers found when children reached categories of overweight or
obese, the influence of adiposity on blood pressure increased.

10775“Higher blood pressure in childhood sets the stage for high blood
pressure in adulthood,” said Wanzhu Tu, Ph.D., study lead author and
professor of biostatistics at Indiana University School of Medicine in
Indianapolis, Indiana. “Targeted interventions are needed for these
children. Even small decreases in BMI could yield major health
benefits.”

Among study participants, 14% of the blood pressure measurements
from overweight/obese children were in prehypertensive or hypertensive
levels, compared to 5% in normal weight children. Blood levels
of leptin, a hormone in fat tissues, and heart rate had a similar
pattern as blood pressure. So leptin may have played a mediating role
in obesity-induced blood pressure elevation, researchers said.

The study reinforces the importance of separately considering
overweight and obese children from those of normal weight; otherwise,
the adiposity effect is overestimated in normal weight children and
underestimated in overweight children.

“The adiposity effects on blood
pressure in children are not as simple as we thought,” Tu said.

On average, children in the study underwent 8.2 assessments each, for a
total of 9,102 semi-annual blood pressure and height/weight assessments
to determine BMI. The average enrollment age was 10.2 years, with
children stratified into 10 years and under, 11-14 and 15 and older.
Children with BMI percentile values over 85% were considered
overweight and those with BMI values over 95% were considered
obese.

“Important questions that remain unanswered are what makes the blood
pressure go up when you have an increase in the BMI percentile and what
mechanisms are involved in the process,” Tu said. “This study wasn’t
set up to answer those questions.”

Further study may determine how the increase in adiposity affects blood
pressure and whether other factors such as leptin, insulin or
inflammatory cytokines may play a role.

Healthcare providers and parents should pay attention to children’s
weight, Tu said.

“If they see a dramatic weight gain in a child who
already is overweight, they need to intervene with behavioral measures,
such as dietary changes and increased physical activity, to improve
overall health and minimize cardiovascular risk.”

Co-authors are George J. Eckert, M.S.; Linda A. DiMeglio, M.D.;
Zhangsheng Yu, Ph.D.; Jeesun Jung, Ph.D.; and J. Howard Pratt, M.D.
Author disclosures and sources of funding are on the manuscript.

Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart
Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors
and do not necessarily reflect the association’s policy or position.
The association makes no representation or guarantee as to their
accuracy or reliability.

The association receives funding primarily
from individuals; foundations and corporations also make
donations and fund specific association programs and events. The
association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from
influencing the science content.

Revenues from pharmaceutical and
device corporations are available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

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