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Expert Rev Cardiovasc Ther. 2011 Jun;9(6):753-61. doi: 10.1586/erc.11.63.

The role of obesity, salt and exercise on blood pressure in children and adolescents.

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Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Hippokration Hospital, Thessaloniki, 3 Filippoupoleos, Thessaloniki 55132, Greece.


The increasing trends of blood pressure (BP) in children and adolescents pose great concern for the burden of hypertension-related cardiovascular disease. Although primary hypertension in childhood is commonly associated with obesity, it seems that other factors, such as dietary sodium and exercise, also influence BP levels in children and adolescents. Several studies support that sympathetic nervous system imbalance, impairment of the physiological mechanism of pressure natriuresis, hyperinsulinemia and early vascular changes are involved in the mechanisms causing elevated BP in obese children and adolescents. Under the current evidence on the association of salt intake and BP, dietary sodium restriction appears to be a rational step in the prevention of hypertension in genetically predisposed children and adolescents. Finally, interventional studies show that regular aerobic exercise can significantly reduce BP and restore vascular changes in obese with hypertensive pediatric patients. This article aims to summarize previous studies on the role of obesity, salt intake and exercise on BP in children and adolescents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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