Higher Blood Pressure in Kids Whose Parents Smoke

(WebMD.com) — Parents who smoke around their preschool-aged children may increase their kids’ risk of having higher blood pressure at that young age compared to children who have parents who do not smoke, according to research published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

The study, performed by German researchers from the University of Heidelberg in Germany, is the first to show that environmental nicotine exposure can increase the blood pressure of children as young as 4 and 5 years old. And researchers say smoke exposure is likely to have a similar effect on the blood pressure of children in the U.S.

The study included 4,236 preschool children, aged 4 to 7years old, from the Heidelberg Kindergarten Blood Pressure Project, who were examined from February 2007 to October 2008.  Researchers gathered questionnaires from 4,185 parents on their smoking habits.  Parents who smoked: 28.5% of fathers, 20.7% of mothers, and 11.9% for both parents.

Factors That Raise a Child’s Blood Pressure

Height, body mass index (BMI), sex, and prenatal risk factors affected children’s blood pressure, according to the study. Obese children were almost twice as likely to have a high-normal or elevated systolic (the top number) blood pressure.

Girls had lower systolic blood pressure than boys, research showed.


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