Obesity Prevention Programs May Lower Blood Pressure


Obesity prevention programs may be able to lower kids' blood pressure, even if they don't reduce fat, according to a recent study.

Researchers from the University of Buffalo and John Hopkins University found that regardless of whether child obesity intervention programs prevented obesity or not, many of them reduce blood pressure in children. They also found that the most effective programs in this regard promoted both healthy eating and physical activity.

Elevated blood pressure is one of the serious health consequences of obesity. The condition is also a particular problem in children because research has found that high BP in children usually follows them into adulthood, according to a press release.

They found that even modest elevations in the BP of adolescents, according to recent research, can pose cardiovascular problems later in life.

For the study, researchers analyzed a systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies of the effect of child obesity intervention programs on blood pressure.

They found that of the obesity interventions they analyzed 46 percent of them had a favorable effect on both adiposity and blood pressure, and 39 percent had a significant effect on the reduction of blood pressure, even if they did not affect body fat levels.

"It is important to identify obesity intervention programs that can help children develop healthy lifestyles and keep BP at an optimal level," Youfa Wang, lead author of the study, said in a statement. "[This is] because these programs help them avoid many long-term health consequences."

Researchers also found that the most effective obesity prevention programs promoted both healthy eating and physical activity.

The study "Effect of Childhood Obesity Prevention Programs on BP: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis" was recently published online in the journal Circulation on Feb. 19, 2014 in advance of print publication.

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