Childhood Obesity Rates Rise While Blood Pressure Falls

The rising rate of childhood obesity in the U.S. did not coincide with a rise in blood pressure among children, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics.Increase in Childhood Obesity Does Not Correlated to Blood Pressure in Children

The study consisted of 11,500 children and adolescents ages 5 to 17, using data collected over a 20-year period by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Researchers discovered that from 1974 to 1993, the amount of obese children tripled, while the children with high blood pressure decreased from 8 percent to 6 percent among girls and from 6 percent to 4 percent among boys.

“I think the take-home from this study is that we should not necessarily assume that increases in childhood obesity will be associated with changes in every risk factor,” stated David S. Freedman, CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, lead researcher on the study.

Freedman also added that this study does not prove obesity to be harmless. In fact, three out of four obese children will eventually become obese adults, he noted, and will most likely deal with type 2 diabetes, as well as heart disease and arthritis.

From the 1970s to 1990s the population in America experienced its largest surge of obesity, and 12.5 million children are currently classified as clinically obese, according to the CDC. Past studies failed to factor in the influence of increasing height among children over the years, Freedman told Reuters – an important note, since height has a greater impact on children’s blood pressure than weight.

What has caused blood pressure rates among children and teens to decrease is unknown, but Freedman believes it might be related to healthier diets in early child development, such as an increase in breast-feeding rates. Although blood pressure rates do not appear to be affected by the growing trend, the importance of fighting obesity should not be discounted.

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