Lifestyle Strategies for Hypertension in Children
Doctors at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone partner with you to help your child adopt healthy habits that can reverse prehypertension or prevent hypertension of any degree from getting worse. Adopting these habits can also help to keep hypertension from persisting into adulthood, which can lead to complications such as a stroke, heart disease, or kidney disorders.
Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension
DASH, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, is a diet plan developed by the National Institutes of Health to prevent and control hypertension. The DASH diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and high-protein foods such as nuts, beans, seeds, poultry, and fish. The diet limits the amount of red meat, sugar, salt, and saturated fats, which play a role in hypertension.
Our registered dietitians can work with you and your whole family to develop a meal plan that incorporates healthful foods into your family’s diet and limits processed foods, which contain large amounts of salt, sugar, and saturated fats.
Increasing physical activity has many benefits for children with mild hypertension or risk factors such as obesity or a family history of hypertension. Regular exercise can strengthen the heart, allowing it to pump more efficiently and reduce pressure within the arteries. Exercise can also help to reduce weight, which can lower blood pressure and the risk for other conditions related to hypertension.
Studies have shown that incorporating 30 to 60 minutes of moderate aerobic activity into your child’s daily routine and limiting sedentary activities, such as watching television or playing video games, to less than two hours a day can lower blood pressure and reduce the need for antihypertensive medications.
Talk with your pediatrician about how to add exercise into your child’s routine.