High blood pressure is one serious health consequence of child obesity, one that can linger into adulthood.
Even modest elevations in the elevated blood pressure in adolescence can pose cardiovascular problems later in life, according to recent research.
A recent review and meta-analysis of published studies of the effect of child obesity intervention programs on blood pressure has found that whether such programs prevented obesity or not, many of them reduced blood pressure. It also found that the most effective programs in this regard promoted both healthy eating and physical activity.
The study, one of the first of its kind, “Effect of Childhood Obesity Prevention Programs on BP: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,” was led by Dr. Youfa Wang, an epidemiologist at the University at Buffalo. Researchers from UB, Johns Hopkins University and other institutions were involved in the study.
Of the 28 obesity interventions involving changes in nutrition and exercise, nearly half had a favorable impact on weight and blood pressure and more than a third had “a significant effect on the reduction of BP,” even if weight was not affected, Wang said in a news release.
“It is important to identify obesity intervention programs that can help children develop healthy lifestyles and keep BP at an optimal level,” Wang said.
Wang’s research team, based at UB, is working on projects in the U.S. and abroad funded by the National Institutes of Health that aim to assess the additional benefits of obesity prevention programs for children and to develop the most effective programs possible.