High Blood Pressure in Kids Linked to Attention, Learning Problems in School
Once upon a time high blood pressure was thought to occur only in adults. Articles in pediatric journals are now sounding an alarm: high blood pressure is now infecting more and more children. In a recent article in the journal of Pediatrics, researchers followed 75 children with high blood pressure and found that hypertension was harming their brain development. These children had a higher incidence of attention and learning problems at school, and problems with fine motor coordination. The causes of this condition in children are the same two that are causing this disease in adults: sitting too much, and eating too much of the wrong foods.
Studies vary in the incidence of childhood HBP. In a recent study of 29,000 two to seventeen-year-olds at Children’s Hospital of Chicago, 3 percent of these children had high blood pressure. Of the children who were high-risk for hypertension, mainly those who were obese, 21 percent already had high blood pressure.
Because of the concern of the increasing incidence of hypertension in children, the American Heart Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommend measuring blood pressure during annual checkups, beginning at three years of age.
My two simple remedies for preventing HBP in children: just eat real foods and go outside and play. Summertime is here, which happens to be a perfect time to include more varieties of fruits and vegetables at meal times. Get your kids in the kitchen and let them be a part of preparing healthy, delicious meals incorporating fruits and veggies, such as this zoodle meal. Then take advantage of the long, sunny, summer days and get outside as a family! Go on hikes, head to the local park, or plant a vegetable garden! If you’re not sure where to start, you can get some more great ideas from our post about Summertime Play.
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