Children growing up in highly polluted environments are at risk of suffering from high blood pressure as they grow up, researchers have said.

Chinese researchers have studied 14 pollution trials from America, China and Europe.

They looked at the effects diesel exhaust and pollutants have on people’s health by looking at hospital admission rates for heart failure.

Lead study author Dr Yao Lu, professor of the Clinical Research Center at the Third Xiangya Hospital at Central South University in Changsha, said: “Our analysis is the first to closely examine previous research to assess both the quality and magnitude of the associations between air pollution and blood pressure values among children and adolescents.

“The findings provide evidence of a positive association between short- and long-term exposure to certain environmental air pollutants and blood pressure in children and adolescents.”

The studies included data for more than 350,000 children and teenagers aged between 5 and 12.

The researchers found evidence of a link between short and long-term exposure to certain air pollutants and blood pressure in children.

The same results were found among the youngsters who were exposed to fine particles and nitrogen dioxide from traffic pollution over a long period of time.

High blood pressure in childhood can lead to hypertension and cardiovascular disease in later life if not managed.

Dr Lu said: “To reduce the impact of environmental pollution on blood pressure in children and adolescents, efforts should be made to reduce their exposure to environmental pollutants. Additionally, it is also very important to routinely measure blood pressure in children and adolescents, which can help us identify individuals with elevated blood pressure early.”

The findings have been published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

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