More children are now considered to have high blood pressure - including about 1.3 million teenagers - and the lower threshold is a better predictor of who will get heart disease later in life, a new study suggests.
When the American Academy of Pediatrics changed its blood pressure guidelines in 2017, the change designated an additional 795,000 teenagers (who saw the most significant increase as a result of the change ) as having high blood pressure.
A similar change to adult guidelines sparked concern that patients would be over-medicated and suffer side effects from statins.
But the new study, from the American Heart Association, suggests that a lower standard for high pediatric blood pressure does better predict heart disease, and could encourage better preventive measures.
Since the threshold for high blood pressure in children and teens was brought down in 2017, an additional 795,000 teenagers are considered to have hypertenion. A new study found that nearly 20 percent of children with high blood pressure developed heart disease
Up until the new guidelines were implemented, about 1.88 percent of 'healthy' children had high blood pressure, as did 14.7 percent of children with obesity.
The researchers that led the charge to change the guidelines estimated that doctors overlooked high blood pressure in about 75 percent of cases.
Although lowering the hypertension threshold may make it seem as though children's health in the US is worse, scientists say that they've seen an encouraging decline in high blood pressure in children and teens - despite the change.
By the new standards, about 7.7 percent of children had high blood pressure in 2001.
By 2016, that rate had fallen to 4.2 percent.
Remarkably, these declines happened despite raising rates of obesity,