Hypertension in Children and Adolescents By Antoinette McNeil
Obesity • Obesity is causing a broad range of health problems from high blood pressure to heart disease that previously weren’t seen until adulthood. elevated blood cholesterol levels Among American children ages 2–19, the following are overweight or obese, using the 95th percentile or higher of body mass index (BMI) values on the CDC growth chart: • For non-Hispanic whites, 31.9 percent of males and 29.5 percent of females. • For non-Hispanic blacks, 30.8 percent of males and 39.2 percent of females. • For Mexican Americans, 40.8 percent of males and 35.0 percent of females. • The prevalence of overweight (BMI-for-age values at or above the 95th percentile of the 2000 CDC growth charts in children ages 6–11 increased from 4.0 percent in 1971–74 to 17.0 percent in 2003–06. The prevalence of overweight in adolescents ages 12–19 increased from 6.1 percent to 17.6 percent. (NHANES, NCHS)
High Cholesterol • Cholesterol levels in children are linked to three risk factors: • Heredity (passed on from parent to child) • Diet • Obesity • In most cases, kids with high cholesterol have a parent who also has elevated cholesterol. • Causes heart disease, arterial sclerosis, hypertension.
Physical Activity • In 2009, only 18% of high school students had participated in at least 60 minutes per day of physical activity, and only 33% attended physical education class daily.3 In a nationally representative survey, 77% of children aged 9–13 years reported participating in free-time physical activity during the previous 7 days.14 • In 2009, only 18% percent of high school students surveyed had participated in at least 60 minutes per day of physical activity on each of the 7 days before the survey.3 • Twenty-three percent of high school students surveyed had not participated in 60 or more minutes of any kind of physical activity on any day during the 7 days before the survey.3 • Participation in physical activity declines as young people age.3 • Raising the percentage of adults with hypertension, and other diseases to 70% and 80% if hereditary. • (Adolescent and School Health)
Vitamin D • And while parents and doctors have assumed that children took in enough Vitamin D from sunshine exposure, supplemented foods, or vitamin supplements, a recent study has found that 12% of American infants and toddlers are deficient in vitamin D, and another 28% are at risk for it. Although the mechanism is unclear, evidence is mounting that maintaining adequate vitamin D levels through childhood may decrease the development of a variety of chronic conditions of adulthood or may help the body fend off the onset of some chronic diseases. (Esther Entin, 2008)
Cardiometabolic • Metabolic syndrome is a long-recognized medical condition, but has been defined only recently. A person is diagnosed with the syndrome when he or she has three of these five disorders affecting metabolism: • High blood pressure • High blood sugar • High triglycerides • Low HDL ('good') cholesterol • Abdominal obesity • Although any of these factors alone is unhealthy, the net effect of having at least three of these disorders is even worse, dramatically increasing the risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In fact, metabolic syndrome carries the same cardiovascular risk as smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. The good news is that intervention and treatment in a comprehensive program can decrease cardiovascular risk and prevent the onset of diabetes. • Studies have shown that the most effective and long-lasting treatment for metabolic syndrome is regular exercise and a healthy diet. One of the only programs of its kind in the nation, Mayo Clinic's Cardiometabolic Program combines strategies for diet and exercise with behavior modification to most effectively manage the disorder. The core component program is six weeks long; in the near future, an intensive, two-day intervention will be offered. • Nutrition • Much more than telling participants what they should and should not eat, the program focuses on behavioral change and teaching the skills necessary to make good choices. • Services include: • Specific recommendations for caloric intake and changes in diet • A teaching kitchen, a hands-on setting where participants learn to prepare healthy, tasty foods • Ongoing cognitive/psychological assessment of eating habits and how to change unhealthy eating behavior • (Cardiovascular Diseases in Minnesota)
Bibliography • Adolescent and School Health. (n.d.). Retrieved April 23, 2012, from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/physicalactivity/facts.htm • Cardiovascular Diseases in Minnesota. (n.d.). Retrieved April 23, 2012, from Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/cardiovascular-disease-rst/cardiometabolic.html • Esther Entin, M. (2008, January 1). Vitamin D Deficiency in Children. Retrieved April 23, 2012, from The Doctor Will See You Now: http://www.thedoctorwillseeyounow.com/content/kids/art2037.html • Overweight in Children. (n.d.). • Overweight in Children. (2012, April 9). Retrieved April 23, 2012, from American Heart Association: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/Overweight-in-Children_UCM_304054_Article.jsp • Robert J Bryg, M. (2010, February 21). High Cholesterol in Children. Retrieved April 23, 2012, from WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/guide/high-cholesterol-children