Rate of high blood pressure in US kids rises 4.5 times (!!!)

According to ReutersHealth:
Overweight children face a far greater risk of high blood pressure than their leaner peers do, a study of Houston public schools shows.

The findings, say researchers, "confirm an evolving epidemic" among U.S. children of weight-related ills once seen almost exclusively in adults.

The study of 5,102 students ages 10 to 19 found that 4.5 percent had high blood pressure, and blood pressure rose in tandem with children's body mass index, or BMI. Among overweight children, 11 percent had high blood pressure, according to results published in the March issue of the journal Pediatrics.

High blood pressure is one of a number of cardiovascular conditions, including type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol, which are increasingly being seen in children as their rates of overweight and obesity climb. In the U.S., childhood obesity has doubled in the past 20 years, and more than 15 percent of kids between the ages of 6 and 19 are considered obese.

In the past, the rate of high blood pressure among children has been estimated at about one percent.