The changing face of pediatric hypertension in the era of the childhood obesity epidemic

Pediatr Nephrol. 2013 Jul;28(7):1059-66. doi: 10.1007/s00467-012-2344-0. Epub 2012 Nov 9.


Historically, hypertension in childhood was thought to be an uncommon diagnosis, usually related to an underlying condition, most often parenchymal renal disease. Primary hypertension in childhood was felt to be quite rare. However, the worldwide childhood obesity epidemic has had a profound impact on the frequency of hypertension and other obesity-related conditions with the result that primary hypertension should now be viewed as one of the most common health conditions in the young. This review will present updated data on the prevalence of hypertension in children and adolescents, the impact of the childhood obesity epidemic on hypertension prevalence and blood pressure levels, shifts in how often primary hypertension is being diagnosed in childhood, and an overview of the pathophysiology of obesity-related hypertension. It is hoped that improved understanding of the significance of these issues will lead to improved recognition and treatment, which will be the key to averting an epidemic of cardiovascular disease in adulthood.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Blood Pressure
  • Child
  • Epidemics*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / diagnosis
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Hypertension / prevention & control
  • Pediatric Obesity / diagnosis
  • Pediatric Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Pediatric Obesity / physiopathology
  • Pediatric Obesity / prevention & control
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult