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Check Blood Pressure Starting at Age 3

<P>Children With High Blood Pressure Should Be Treated</P>

A Wake-Up Call for Society

American Heart Association spokesman Daniel Jones, MD, tells WebMD that the new guidelines should be a wake-up call to the nation about the need to get serious about high blood pressure in children. While it is estimated that 1% to 3% of children and adolescents may have hypertension, Jones says this is a major problem. "While 3% may not seem like a lot, we know that high blood pressure tracks with age," he says. These children with high blood pressure are likely to grow into a generation of young adults who have heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure at a young age."

Jones, who is dean of the University of Mississippi School of Medicine in Jackson, discussed the new guidelines in a phone interview. While he is an American Heart Association spokesman on blood pressure, Jones says he only treats adults in his clinical practice.

Speaking as an individual, Jones says that he blames the food industry for the "the epidemic of obesity and it is obesity that is driving the blood pressure problem." He says that it "is necessary to regulate the food industry to stop the epidemic of vascular disease and obesity." He also says that high-calorie, high-sodium foods shocost more and he also suggests that high-calorie foods should be banned from school vending machines.

SOURCE: ASH 19th Annual Meeting. Bonita Falkner, MD, Philadelphia, "Hypertension Guidelines in Children." Daniel Jones, MD, Jackson, Miss.

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