Banner Health: High blood pressure and kids

(ABC-15 Arizona) — Lately there have been a rush of stories about childhood obesity and what you can do to prevent it. However, these stories don’t always tell the whole story, and by that I mean the actual life-and-death risks that can come from being overweight.

Research shows that overweight and obese children have a higher risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and Type 2 diabetes. High blood pressure is three times more prevalent in the obese, and the risk factors for cardiovascular disease are three to five times more prevalent.

Obese and overweight children also have a substantially higher future risk of heart attacks and other cardiac events in adulthood, regardless of whether they are overweight as adults. Boys who are 25 pounds overweight at age 13 have a 33 percent higher risk for future heart disease than normal weight boys.

The most common cause of acquired heart disease (meaning you don’t have it at birth) is atherosclerosis. This is the buildup of fatty substances and cholesterol – often called plaque – along the walls of the arteries. This plaque can start building in childhood and affect all arteries.

In other words, obesity puts extra strain on the heart.


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