High blood pressure in U.S. children increases

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POSTED: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 6:34am

UPDATED: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 7:26am

A new study finds an alarming increase in children with high blood pressure. Doctors say it's spurred by too much salt and too many extra pounds.
El Pasoan mother and grandmother Sandie Negrette was not surprised.

"It's only natural. What they eat and their lifestyle is going to affect their health," said Negrette.

A recent study looked at thousands of children ages eight to 17 for more than a decade. It found an increase of 39 percent with high blood pressure. Researchers said obesity and too much salt is to blame.

"There's a lot of sodium contained in places you wouldn't expect, it's in yogurt, it's in processed food, it's in soup, it's even in breads so you really got to be careful and read food labels, " said Dr. Nancy Cook.

As she watched her grandson play football, Negrette said parents need to take a look at their lifestyles.

"We owe it to our children. It's an obligation to them that we make sure that they do grow up healthy," said Negrette.

She said with Latinos making up more than 80 percent of El Paso's population, it could become a big problem here.

"Hispanics are really bad for that. Our ethnic group is just really bad about the diet that we take and the foods that we make," said Negrette.

She said it'll be hard, but parents can make a change.

"There's not a quick remedy to it but I think that if we all are conscious about he we eat and how our children's see us eat, I think we could make a major impact."

Children who have high blood pressure are at risk for long term problems like premature heart attack, stroke and kidney disease.

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