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Saturday, October 08, 2011

When kids become overweight, blood pressure may spike

More early nutritional child abuse and additional validation of the BMI.
Children are considered overweight if their body mass index (BMI) -- simple ratio of height to weight -- is in the 85th percentile or above for their age. That imaginary line may seem arbitrary to some, but a child's risk of having high blood pressure nearly triples if he or she crosses it, a new study has found.

Fourteen percent of the overweight and obese children in the study had high blood pressure (hypertension) or the milder condition prehypertension, compared to just 5% of normal-weight kids. What's more, rates of hypertension and prehypertension appeared to stay relatively flat as BMI rose, before spiking at the 85th percentile and continuing upward from there.

"If you have a child [who] is already overweight and there is a small increase in BMI percentile, then the risk for hypertension actually increases pretty dramatically," says the study's lead author, Wanzhu Tu, Ph.D., a professor of biostatistics at the Indiana University School of Medicine, in Indianapolis. "At the same time, if you were able to reduce the BMI percentile even by a little bit, you might actually see much benefit in blood pressure."
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