July 6, 2006
Fifty percent of adults with high blood pressure were overweight as children, according to a new study by Tulane University epidemiologist Sathanur Srinivasan. The study links childhood obesity to the development of both high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome in adulthood.
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of health measures including: fat around the waistline, high blood pressure, low levels of HDL "good" cholesterol, high fasting blood sugar levels and high triglycerides. Srinivasan's analysis of data from the Bogalusa Heart Study appears in the July edition of Hypertension, a journal of the American Heart Association.
Srinivasan analyzed data from 3255 study participants who had been screened during childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Excess weight in childhood was strongly correlated with the development of high blood pressure in adulthood. According to Srinivasan, this data implies that failing to address the national trend towards overweight children could lead to an epidemic of adult high blood pressure in coming decades.
The Bogalusa Heart Study is the world's longest-running, biracial, community-based study of heart disease risk factors that begin in childhood. Coauthors of the study are cardiologist Gerald Berenson and biostatistician Leann Myers.
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