Childhood obesity may quadruple high blood pressure risk in adulthood

American Heart Association Meeting Report

Study Highlight:

  • Excess weight in childhood increases the risk of high blood pressure as an adult.

Abstract 36

Embargoed for release at 3 p.m. CT/4 p.m. ET, Thursday, September 12, 2013

NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 12, 2013 — Obese children quadruple their risk and overweight children double their risk of developing high blood pressure in adulthood, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association High Blood Pressure Research Scientific Sessions 2013.

Researchers tracked the growth and blood pressure of 1,117 healthy adolescents from Indianapolis for 27 years, starting in 1986, and found:

  • During childhood, 68 percent of the kids were a normal weight, 16 percent were overweight and 16 percent were obese. As adults, 119 of the participants were diagnosed with high blood pressure.
  • Six percent of normal weight children had high blood pressure as adults.
  • Fourteen percent of overweight children had high blood pressure as adults.
  • Twenty-six percent of obese children had high blood pressure as adults.

The findings highlight the public health threat posed by overweight and obesity in childhood. One in three U.S. children and teens are overweight or obese, meaning their body mass index is at least the 85th percentile or at least the 95th percentile for their age and gender respectively. Body mass index is the relationship between height and weight.

The study results are also part of the growing body of evidence that heart disease may start in childhood, said Sara E. Watson, M.D., study author and a pediatric endocrinology fellow at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University in Indianapolis, Ind.

“It is important that pediatricians counsel patients on the risk of high blood pressure associated with overweight and obesity, and stress that a healthy diet, including reducing salt intake and exercise, may help reduce this risk,” Watson said. “Interventions to prevent and treat obesity will play an important role in decreasing the significant burden of high blood pressure in adulthood.”

Co-authors and author disclosures are on the manuscript.

The National Institute of Health, Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University Purdue University Signature Center Grant Initiative funded the study.

For high blood pressure tools and information visit heart.org/hbp.

Additional resources and multimedia are provided on the right column of this link: http://newsroom.heart.org/news/childhood-obesity-may-quadruple-high-blood-pressure-risk-in-adulthood?preview=f12334236fc2a3072cdd4d43edb165c5

For the latest heart and stroke news, follow us on Twitter: @HeartNews.

###

Statements and conclusions of study authors that are presented at American Heart Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect association policy or position.  The association makes no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) 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.

 

Actual presentation is Thursday, September 12, 2013, 5:30 p.m., CT/6:30 p.m. ET.  


Related Images

AHA/ASA Events & Scientific Confs/Meetings Calendar