Prevalence of high blood pressure increase among rural Indian children

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

Prevalence of high blood pressure increase among rural Indian children

Sedentary lifestyles and easy access to junk food are some primary reasons

New Delhi, 04 October 2018: A recent study conducted across primary and secondary schools in rural areas of four Indian states has revealed that about 23% of the children had high blood pressure (BP). Of the 23% children with high BP, 13.6% exhibited systolic hypertension, 15.3% diastolic hypertension and 5.9% exhibited both. The high prevalence of high BP in otherwise healthy schoolchildren indicates the urgent need for proper screening and management programmes.

High BP in childhood is a precursor for the early onset of heart diseases in adulthood. In children who are obese or overweight, the condition can become worse unless timely measures are taken to reduce excess weight. Sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating are all risk factors that require comprehensive school-based interventions.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Children today are exposed to a variety of unk food at a very early stage. These foods come with a shelf life and have a high quantity of salt and sugar, which is bad for health. It is a good idea to consume brown sugar, jaggery and palm sugar. The rice we consume today is also highly refined and gets digested in just 90 minutes. This leads to an increase in glucose levels, and we feel hungry frequently – a major reason for cravings and eating several meals in a day.”

Hypertension is defined as a repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg. It can lead to heart disease and stroke – which are two leading causes of death in India.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “It is important to start inculcating good nutritional habits from the beginning in children. Ensuring enough physical activity right from an early age is an equally important aspect of every child’s growth. Prevention of lifestyle diseases should start early. Schools can help in shaping the lives of students and have a very important role to play in the battle against childhood obesity. Healthy habits in childhood lay a foundation for a healthier adulthood.”

Dance as a medium of exercise for children will be a prime focus at this year’s 25th MTNL Perfect Health Mela to be held between 23rd and 27th October 2018 at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium, New Delhi.

Some tips from HCFI

  • Encourage healthy eating habits right at the onset.
  • Try making favorite dishes healthier. Few changes can make even snacks healthier.
  • Avoid tempting children with calorie-rich food. It is okay to treat them but in moderation and by limiting high-fat and high-sugar or salty snacks.
  • Make kids understand the importance of being physically active.
  • Lead by example. Indulge in at least 60 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity every day.
  • Reduce sedentary time. While reading is a good option, too much of screen time is not.
  • Replace screen time with the outdoors and fun activities to keep children engaged.