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Fat kids can regain lower blood pressure

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QUEENSLAND, Australia, Aug 16, 2005 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Overweight children who lose weight to reach normal levels by age 14 can expect lower blood pressure, a University of Queensland study says.

About 2,794 children in Brisbane participated in the study. Their blood pressure and body mass index were recorded at age 5 and then at 14.

Lead researcher Dr Abdullah Al Mamun and colleagues found children who were overweight at both ages or at age 14, had average blood pressure rates.

But Mamun found children who had normal body fat indexes, or who had dropped to normal by age 14 from being overweight at age 5, had lower blood pressure rates.

He said the study demonstrates being overweight at one time in childhood does not cause irreversible damage.

"This study suggests that slower weight gain in the general population of children is likely to reverse the increases in blood pressure associated with the obesity epidemic," Mamun said.

The children are part of one of the world's longest running health studies -- the Mater-University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy -- which has followed the progress of Brisbane mothers and their families since 1981.

The latest findings from the Mater study appear in the journal Hypertension.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International.

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