Researchers divided average body weight into low (5th through 39th percentile), medium (40th through 59th percentile), and high (60th through 84th percentile) to provide insight into the risk of hypertension at a weight below what would typically be considered overweight. Unlike in adults, BMI levels among children and teens need to be expressed relative to other people of the same age and sex.
- Compared to youths in the medium range of average weight, the risk of developing hypertension within 5 years was 26% higher for youths at the high end of the average weight range.
- Children gain weight over time. Every BMI unit gained per year increases their risk of hypertension by 4%.
- The rate of hypertension was higher among boys than girls, and among youth on state-subsidized health plans in comparison to those not on state-subsidized health plans.
“This study underscores the need for medical professionals to reevaluate how we correlate and educate about health risks across the spectrum of weight in growing children,” said the study’s senior author, Poornima Kunani, MD, a pediatrician and researcher at the Kaiser Permanente Manhattan Beach Medical Office. “Obesity may be the most important risk factor for hypertension during childhood. Parents should talk to their pediatrician to see if your child might be at risk for hypertension and other preventable chronic medical conditions related to obesity. They can help you with strategies for developing habits to keep your child healthy through adulthood.”
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve approximately 12.6 million members in 8 states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists, and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations clinical research, health education, and the support of community health.