Obesity-Associated Hypertension in Childhood: A New Epidemic Problem
In recent years, opinions on hypertension in the paediatric age range have been changing. Although secondary forms of childhood hypertension maintain important clinical relevance, lately much more attention has been paid to primary forms of high blood pressure in children. At present, the prevalence of primary hypertension in children is not easily defined, also because of an unsatisfactory knowledge of this phenomenon. A child with elevated blood pressure values shows a high probability of developing hypertension in adulthood. Many factors that contribute to the development and maintenance of hypertension in the adult population are already present and operating in childhood. Overweight is one of the most important of these factors. In the industrialised countries, prevalence of childhood overweight has increased markedly during the last five decades and as in adults, overweight is related to several cardiovascular risk factors in children too. For these reasons, it may be important to precisely identify the children with high blood pressure values and body weight excess that might develop cardiovascular diseases in adulthood, and thus allow activation of preventive measures and therapeutic interventions that may reduce morbidity and mortality related to cardiovascular diseases.
Keywords: Overweight, obesity, waist circumference, nsulin resistance, blood pressure, children
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