Monday, January 10, 2011

Preventing Heart Ailments at Their Roots - Childhood - NYTimes.com

Two studies published Monday suggest that the road to hypertension and heart disease starts in childhood and that prevention should start there, too.

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One analysis found that parental smoking increases the risk for high blood pressure in preschoolers, and the other that excessive sugar consumption in teenagers is associated with multiple factors known to increase the risk for cardiovascular disease. Both reports appear in the February issue of the journal Circulation.

The first study looked at 4,236 children in Germany, where 5-year-olds undergo a compulsory physical and cognitive assessment before starting school. During the period of the study, 2007-8, more than 28 percent had at least one parent who smoked. Even after correcting for body mass index and parental hypertension, having a smoker as a parent substantially increased the likelihood that a child would have blood pressure readings in the top 15 percent of the sample.

Parental smoking was not the only association, or even the strongest. Being overweight and having a parent with hypertension were also associated with high blood pressure in the children. But the lead author, Dr. Giacomo D. Simonetti, said smoking was probably the easiest risk to modify.

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See also: Cardiac Resources:
http://www.nursefriendly.com/nursing/directpatientcare/cardiac.htm

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