LONDON: A study has found that air pollution can predispose children to high blood pressure later in life, especially when they gain weight.
Experts have warned that children should be encouraged to walk home from school on low-traffic routes, while school grounds should be planted with trees to absorb pollution.
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The study, led by researchers at King’s College London, looked at eight studies of nearly 15,000 children aged 10 to 19.
The focus of the researchers was exposure to pollution on children. The pollution included fine PM 2.5 particles found in vehicle exhaust and PM 10 particles emitted from car tire wear and wood stoves.
Blood pressure was markedly higher in children exposed to long-term high levels of PM 2.5 and PM 10 at age 12 years. These particles go straight to the lungs through inhalation.
Thus, high blood pressure in old age can lead to increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
When the researchers compared overweight and obese children with moderate weight children, they found that overweight and obese children were more likely to develop high blood pressure.
Professor Siromini Harding, who led the scientific analysis, said that pitches are more exposed to pollution because they spend more time outside the home for other activities, including sports.