High blood pressure has been identified as one of the leading causes of cardiovascular disease and premature mortality in the United States.1 About 50 million Americans have hypertension,2 including as much as 5% of the pediatric population.3 More important, blood pressure tracking patterns in childhood confirm that persistent blood pressure elevation in youth may be related to hypertension in adulthood.4,5 Furthermore, the presence of hypertension in childhood has been linked with left ventricular hypertrophy6 and atherosclerotic fibrous plaque formation prior to the third decade of life.7 For these reasons, the National High Blood Pressure Education Program's (NHBPEP) Working Group on Hypertension Control in Children and Adolescents strongly recommends that blood pressure be identified and managed in children to promote improved cardiovascular health in adult life.3
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