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Cut TV Time, Cut Kids’ Blood Pressure Problems

It turns out that spending countless hours in front of the television or computer poses another threat to children: high blood pressure.

Researchers from the University of Zaragoza, in Spain, and the University of São Paulo, in Brazil, wanted to understand the negative impact of sedentary behavior and blood pressure among younger populations. To this end, they collected accelerometer data on 5,061 children aged 2–9 from eight European countries. The intervention, published in the International Journal of Cardiology (2015; doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j .ijcard.2014.11.175), was part of a research consortium.

The researchers then compared the data, gathered over 2 years, with blood pressure readings from each child. For every 1,000 children, 121 fell into a pre–high blood pressure range and 110 had high blood pressure, in each year of the 2-year study. The investigators discovered that at least 2 hours of sedentary behavior each day was associated with a 30% greater likelihood of developing high blood pressure. That increased to a 50% greater likelihood among children who were completely inactive, or active for less than an hour each day.

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