Paediatric cardiologists have alerted that more children, especially from well-to-do families, are coming down with high blood pressure.
According to the cardiologists, unhealthy lifestyle practices by the rich could be a major factor in the development.
The experts noted that the desire to feed children with fast, processed food and carbohydrates, while not allowing them to play outside is wrong, noting that the food being consumed by the children eventually gets converted into fat.
The paediatric cardiologists noted that hypertension in children is not easily picked up like that of adults but urged parents to be alert to detect it early in children with the condition.
They advised that children’s blood pressure should be checked from the age of three, noting that parents must begin to pay attention to any change in their children’s blood pressure measurement.
According to Mayo Clinic, high blood pressure in children is blood pressure that is at or above the 95th percentile.
Mayo Clinic further explained that though there are usually no symptoms of hypertension in children, parents must be alert to signs of headaches, seizures, vomiting, chest pain and shortness of breath in children, noting that they could be indications of elevated blood pressure.
Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise, a Professor of Paediatrics in the School of Medicine, College of Medical Sciences, University of Benin, Wilson Sadoh, said parents need to begin to deal with elevated blood pressure being fuelled by obesity.
Sadoh, who is also a Fellow of the American College of Cardiologists, said, “The major reason why there seems to be a rise in elevated blood is because of the rise in obesity. If you go to schools, especially private schools, a lot of children are obese and that is the reason for this so-called rise in hypertension in children.”
He attributed the rise in blood pressure to what the children eat and the absence of physical exercise. He said, “It’s what they eat. They eat a lot of fast foods, a lot of soda, meat pies and so on. Instead of taking proper food, they are taking fast foods, soda. These things contribute to making them gain weight
“The other factor is that they don’t exercise as much as they should. Oftentimes their television hours are very high, they are playing video games, rather than playing outside.