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Rising Blood Pressure In Kids

While researchers have known that obesity among children has risen in recent years, a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics finds that American kids have higher blood pressure levels as well. CBS News Health Correspondent Dr. Emily Senay reports.

Scientists at the University of Minnesota studied 18,000 kids ages 10 through 14 in the Minneapolis public school system. They tested them in 1986, then again 10 years later.

They found that kids in 1996 were heavier, as measured by their body mass index, or BMI, a measure of weight and height. Children's BMIs rose from 19.7 to 20.5 in males, and from 20.3 to 21.2 in females.

Researchers also discovered that the kids' systolic blood pressure - the first number recorded when your blood pressure is taken - had also risen from 106.3 to 107.8 in males and from 105.6 to 106.3 in females.

The rise was recorded in all ethnic groups, but most significantly in whites, African Americans, and male Hispanics.

But children don't have high blood pressure, Dr. Senay says. They have higher blood pressure levels than their peers of 10 years ago. However, since the best predictor of future blood pressure is current blood pressure, researchers fear that more adults will have cardiovascular problems in the future.

Since higher blood pressure is correlated to higher weight, the best thing parents can do is keep their children's weight under control. That means the old tried-and-true technique of eating less and exercising more.

Reported By Dr. Emily Senay

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