Did you know many kids and teens have high blood pressure (hypertension) and other risk factors for heart disease and stroke? A recent study shows that about 1 in 25 youth ages 12-19 have hypertension, and 1 in 10 has elevated blood pressure (previously called "prehypertension").
What can parents do?
Ask your doctor to measure your child’s blood pressure starting at age 3. Helping children keep a healthy weight, eat nutritious foods, and get regular physical activity can lower their blood pressure and reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease later in life. Try these tips to help your child keep a healthy weight and normal blood pressure:
Food and Drinks
- Offer nutritious, lower-calorie foods such as fruits and vegetables in place of foods high in added sugars and solid fats. Try serving more fruits and vegetables at meals and as snacks.
- Provide foods that are low in sodium (salt). Sodium raises blood pressure. Nearly 9 in 10 U.S. children eat more sodium than is recommended. Learn more about sodium.
- Make sure water is always available as a no-calorie alternative to sugary drinks, and limit juice.
- Help your child get the recommended amount of physical activity each day. Choose from many age-appropriate activities.
- Be aware of your child’s growth. Learn how obesity is measured in children, and use CDC’s Child and Teen BMI Calculator to screen your child for potential weight issues.
- Be a role model! Eat healthy meals and snacks, and get the right amount of physical activity every day.