WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Adults know that high blood pressure is something that needs to be watched and taken care of, but what happens when children and young adults are now at risk? According to new research in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension, over a thirteen-year period the risk of elevated blood pressure in children and adolescents has risen to 27%.
"High blood pressure is dangerous in part because many people don't know they have it." said Bernard Rosner, Ph.D., lead author and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, M.A.
High blood pressure contributes to strokes, heart disease, and kidney failure - being held responsible for approximately 350,000 preventable deaths a year in the United States.
More than 3,200 children from ages 8-17 were examined in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 1988-1994 to more than 8,300 in the same survery done from 1999-2008. Researchers then compared differences between the two groups in categories like age, sex, race, body mass, waistline, and sodium intake.
They then found that:
- Boys were more likely to have higher blood pressure, but the rate of girls blood pressure increase was more extreme between the two studies.
- In the second study, more children were found to be overweight and both sexes also had bigger waistlines.
- Children whose body mass were in the top 25% of their age were about twice as likely to have higher blood pressure as children in the bottom 25%.
- African-American children had 28% more of a chance of high blood pressure than non-Hispanic white children.
- In both studies, children who consumed the most amount of sodium were 36% more likely to have high blood pressure than those who consumed the least amount.