Children aged 8 to 10 years who report spending more than 2 hours of daily sedentary activity, such as watching TV or playing video games, are 2.7 times more likely to have high BP than children who report less sedentary activity, according to data presented at the World Congress of Cardiology Scientific Sessions.
Researchers evaluated data on 343 boys and 287 girls aged 8 to 10 years. All of the children had at least one obese biological parent. BP was measured five times at 1-minute intervals while at rest, and physical activity was measured via accelerometer for 7 days. Fitness levels were determined using exercise tests on electromagnetic bicycles, and participants also self-reported activity and sedentary behavior, including TV watching, computer use, video-game playing, reading and studying, using questionnaires.
"We showed that, independent of obesity, the amount of time that children spend in front of a screen, the amount of steps they walk in a day and their level of fitness ... are all associated with their level of BP," Gilles Paradis, MD, MSc, chairman of the department of epidemiology, biostatistics and occupational health at McGill University in Montreal, told Cardiology Today. "The kids that were in the highest level of BP distribution in this cohort were those that were either the most inactive or spent the most time in front of a screen.”
The increased risk in the odds of having elevated BP was even higher among overweight and obese children. The researchers noted that children with low levels of fitness were more likely to have elevated BP compared with children who had higher levels of fitness (OR=3.4; 95% CI, 1.2-9.6). The mean BP was 97 mm Hg/51 mm Hg for children with low levels of fitness vs. 92 mm Hg/47 mm Hg for children with high levels of fitness.
"With the almost universal problem of a low level of physical activity in our youth, we may be facing an increase in elevated BP in the future,” Paradis said. “We can't recommend, based on these data, that children be screened for elevated BP; [however,] there is evidence for physicians to be very mindful that, when treating obese adult patients who have hypertension, diabetes or metabolic syndrome, their children will also be at risk.
“The take-away message is that we've got to get our kids outside to play.” – by Adam Taliercio
For more information:
Paradis G. Abstract #O206. Presented at: World Congress of Cardiology Scientific Sessions; May 4-7, 2014; Melbourne, Australia.
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.