A new study which has been published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology has found that being overweight in childhood has health consequences that linger in the future. As per this report, 4-year-olds who are overweight have a double risk of developing high blood pressure by age six which in turn ups the risk of heart attack and stroke in future.
Today, the number of children who are overweight or obese around that globe has swelled. Childhood obesity is a serious health academic that needs to be acknowledged. More than 41 million children below the age of 5 are overweight which calls for the need to take measures to control this issue. Unfortunately, most people do not view childhood obesity as consequential.
This becomes an obstacle in taking steps to prevent and control it. The study’s author, Dr. Iñaki Galán said, “Parents need to be more physically active with young children and provide a healthy diet. Women should shed extra pounds before becoming pregnant, avoid gaining excess weight during pregnancy, and quit smoking, as these are all established risk factors for childhood obesity.”
For the purpose of this study, which was based on the ELION cohort, 1,796 4-year-olds were taken in as participants. Their BMI, waist circumference as well as blood pressure was checked prior to the study and two years after it when the participants were followed up with. The link between blood pressure and weight was analyzed.
The following conclusions were drawn:
- Compared to children who had an average weight at both 4 and 6 years of age, those who were newly or persistently overweight, as per their BMI, had a 2.49 and 2.54 higher risk of elevated blood pressure respectively
- Those who had new or persistent abdominal obesity, their risk of blood pressure was 2.81 and 3.42 higher respectively
- Those who had lost weight didn’t have a risk of developing elevated blood pressure
- These findings were applicable to all children regardless of their gender or socioeconomic status
It is important to note that if this excess weight can be tracked into adulthood, it can be found that being overweight or obese leads to cardiovascular disease. In this regard, two approaches that can be taken for weight loss include dieting and exercising. Schools must incorporate 3 to 4 hours of exercise or sports per week in the schedules of all children.
They should offer meals that are healthy and nutritionally balanced. Some pediatricians believe that obesity and how it harms health starts from adolescence, but this study suggests that the effects start kicking in from way before. This shows that controlling weight is a necessity regardless of what one’s age is.
For children who are diagnosed with high blood pressure, the first giveaway and measurement means is their weight. In this case, lifestyle changes are recommended but if those do not show any difference, then medications are prescribed. This study’s investigators used both BMI and waist circumference measurement as leaving any of the two would’ve missed cases.