Inside the epidemic of obesity among children in America, there is another kind of epidemic that threatens our kids. This is a threat that's too often ignored by both parents and pediatricians alike. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, more than one million children in the U.S. have undiagnosed hypertension. Dr. Lonnie Horowitz, a Bariatric Specialist says that "It's significant because if we're starting to see it earlier on in the course of childhood and we're starting to see this number raise in childhood at what point does it become a severe problem as an adult." He says high blood pressure in childhood increases the risk of disease earlier in adulthood. "Not just heart disease, kidney failure, retinal damage, all the problems that we see with diabetes." That's why the American Heart Association recommends that all kids three and older have their blood pressure checked. Dr. Jonathan Winner, a Pediatrician adds that "I think prevention is always better than treating the serious problems that we cause."
Experts say the good news is that with young children, if the risk factors for heart disease are caught, changes in diet and exercise can completely undo the damage already done.
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Hypertension in Children
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