What happens to teens who are overweight when they grow into adults?

When a child struggles with being overweight or obese, that can change the health risks as an adult.

A new large study of boys finds they face a greater risk of high blood pressure.

Dr. Ellen Rome did not take part in the study, but is an adolescent medicine expert at Cleveland Clinic Children's.

"If you were an overweight, not very fit teen, you grew up to be a hypertensive adult. These guys were strong but not fit cardiovascularly," she says.

Researchers looked at more than 1.5 million 18-year-old boys enlisted in the military in Sweden between 1969 and 1997. The men were assessed for aerobic fitness, muscular strength and BMI and were followed from late adolescence through adulthood.

Results show that high BMI and low aerobic fitness in late adolescence were associated with higher risk for high blood pressure in adulthood.

This means, when it comes to growing children into healthy adults, researchers point out we need to make sure we're focusing on both fitness and weight.

"If we as a community and individual parents and families help hardwire good healthy strategies from birth onward, it makes it easier to avoid having hypertensive adults," Dr. Rome says.

This study can be found in the journal "JAMA Internal Medicine."

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