Some cases of high blood pressure in children may be explained by exposure to high levels of air pollution during the fetal period or in early childhood, new research in Environment International finds.
For the study, researchers affiliated with the Barcelona Institute for Global Health examined the data of more than 4,000 children residing in various regions of Europe. The participants were originally part of the European HELIX project.
“Systolic and diastolic blood pressure were measured in 4,279 children aged 4–5 years from a multi-centre European cohort (France, Greece, Spain, and UK),” the co-authors explained in their journal article.
“Urban environment exposures were estimated during pregnancy and childhood, including air pollution, built environment, natural spaces, traffic, noise, meteorology, and socioeconomic deprivation index.”
The results of the study indicate that residing in a harmful urban environment may affect blood pressure regulation among children.
Exposure to air pollution in early-childhood was linked to high blood pressure, the study determined,
“These findings reinforce the importance of designing cities that promote healthy environments to reduce long-term risk of hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases,” the co-authors concluded in their findings.