Researchers at Kaiser Permanente Southern California found that young people who are overweight are twice as likely as their normal-weight peers to have hypertension.
Moderately obese youths have four times higher risk, and extremely obese children and adolescents are 10 times more likely to have hypertension.
The study also found 10 percent of youth who are extremely obese have hypertension and nearly half have occasional blood pressure measurements in the hypertensive range.
"This study's findings suggest that pediatricians need to be particularly vigilant about screening overweight and obese children for hypertension because high blood pressure can be asymptomatic for many years," Corinna Koebnick, PhD, lead author and researcher at Kaiser Permanente Southern California's Department of Research and Evaluation, said.
Researchers examined the electronic health records of nearly 250,000 children aged 6 to 17 years who were enrolled in Kaiser Permanente in Southern California between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2009.
The study used the first four consecutive blood pressures measured routinely as a part of clinical care during the 36-month time period.
The present results also suggest that the currently used classifications for overweight and obesity in children may be an effective tool for identifying children at high risk for hypertension.
The study is published in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension.
--ANI (Posted on 11-10-2013)