High blood pressure in kids is increasing, but it is often missed by doctors, a new study shows. Researchers examined the electronic records of thousands of children and teens enrolled in an Ohio health plan; they found 500 with high blood pressure readings, and only a quarter had been previously diagnosed. "High blood pressure isn't necessarily on the minds of pediatric clinicians," says one of the researchers.
Children who were not obese, especially younger ones, were most likely to have their high blood pressure overlooked. Diagnosing hypertension in kids is more complicated than in adults—the doctor has to take multiple factors like age, sex, and weight into account. Between 2% and 5% of children and teens are estimated to have high blood pressure, but that number is expected to increase as obesity keeps spiraling.