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AHA: In Heavy Youths, BMI Has Big Blood Pressure Effect

Small change in BMI percentiles has large BP effect on overweight children

FRIDAY, Oct. 15 (HealthDay News) -- In overweight children, minor increases in body mass index percentile may have substantial effects on blood pressure, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's High Blood Pressure Research 2010 Scientific Sessions, held Oct. 13-16 in Washington, D.C.

Wanzhu Tu, Ph.D., of the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, and colleagues analyzed data from 1,113 overweight and non-overweight children, ages 4 to 17, with a mean age of 10.2 years at enrollment.

The researchers found that the effect of BMI percentiles (BMI%) on systolic blood pressure in overweight boys was 4.6 times that of boys who weren't overweight. The estimated effect of BMI percentiles on prehypertensive systolic blood pressure for overweight boys was more than six times the effect for non-overweight boys. These effects were also seen in overweight girls.

"The analysis shows that BMI% minimally affects BP in non-overweight children. However, in overweight children, small increases in BMI% can result in large BP% changes, thus a small reduction in BMI% could greatly reduce hypertension risk," the authors write.

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