Healthy Living: Local News
Your Health: High Blood Pressure Is Growing Problem In Kids
Story Updated: Jun 29, 2012
Childhood obesity has become an epidemic in this country and health experts say that's why the number of kids being treated for hypertension has increased so dramatically.
A just-released study found the number of kids hospitalized for high blood pressure nearly doubled between 1997 and 2006 and the rise in childhood obesity is getting much of the blame.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 17 percent of U.S. kids are obese.
That's triple the rate from just one generation ago.
"We're seeing more obesity, more hypertension, more insulin resistance - so pre-diabetes - in the population of kids. We're seeing more kids with chronic diseases that we typically did not see until late adolescence or early adulthood," said Dr. Troy Johnson, a local emergency room physician.
As a result, health care providers are encouraging young people to make choices to prevent life-threatening complications later in life.
"More fresh fruits, more vegetables, less processed food, less fast food and get outside for an hour every day," said Jeniffer Alberry, a local nurse practitioner.
"These dietary changes and these activity changes will have good consequences," said Dr. Johnson.
The effects of childhood obesity are not just physical.
They can be psychological too.
Obese children are more prone to low self esteem, negative body image and depression.