American Kids' Blood Pressure Creeps Up

Obesity epidemic fallout foreshadows serious health troubles
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2007 10:37 AM CDT
Children's Medical Center employee Terry Wade, left, lines up others behind EmmaLee Duckworth, center, 5, to play in a game of kickball during a program at Children's Medical Center to help families with...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The ranks of US children with dangerously high blood pressure and hypertension have been growing for 20 years, reversing a decades-long trend, says a new study that tracks the effects of youth obesity. Hypertension, which usually doesn't develop until patients are in their 30s or 40s, is a leading cause of heart attack and stroke, the Washington Post reports.

More and more children are developing traditionally "adult" ailments such as type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol; a researcher calls the blood pressure findings "another piece of evidence suggesting that the obesity epidemic will likely turn into a heart disease epidemic." Less than 6% of American children were obese in 1963; by 2003, the figure had climbed to 17%.