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Obesity in the Childhood: A Link to Adult Hypertension

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The rapid increasing prevalence of obesity worldwide represents a serious health hazard. Obesity predisposes to increased risk for diabetes, hypertension, renal failure. Direct mechanisms link visceral adiposity and the atherosclerosis process through the action of adipose-derived proinflammatory cytokines.

In particular, hypertension can be considered the most important cardiovascular risk factor linking obesity to the development of cardiovascular disease. Obesity among children and adolescents has also reaching epidemic proportions in the industrialized world. Childhood obesity strongly predisposes to cardiovascular adult mortality. Recent reports documented a tracking of blood pressure from childhood to adulthood and obesity occurring in young age plays a crucial pathogenic role. Indeed, fighting overweight and obesity in the pediatric and adolescent age may prevent the occurrence of adults with hypertension and cardiovascular disease. The main strategies for prevention and treatment of overweight and obesity in childhood, which need to involve community, school and family, are the promotion of lifestyle interventions, including as a correct dietary approach, rich in fruit and vegetables and low-fat dairy products, and physical activity.
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Keywords: Obesity; cardiovascular disease; childhood; epidemiology; hypertension

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Internal Medicine, University of Pisa, Via Roma, 67, 56100 Pisa, Italy.

Publication date: April 1, 2009

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