Parents Who Smoke May Be Risking Their Child’s Heart Health

By Staff Writer

Parents who fail to seek substance abuse help for their tobacco habits may be putting more than their own health at risk. A new study has shown that secondhand smoke can cause dangerous elevations in blood pressure among children.

The researchers from the University of Heidelberg in Germany said that the presence of adult disease like high blood pressure in children as young as 4 or 5 is particularly troubling because they are unlikely to grow out of it. The condition could affect them for their entire lives, putting a major strain on their heart health.

For the study, which was published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers tested the blood pressure of 4,236 kindergarten students in Germany. They found that children whose parents smoked were 21 percent more likely to have dangerously elevated blood pressure.

Given the number of other risk factors for poor heart health, including an unhealthy diet and obesity, that are faced by today’s youths, the researchers said that removing this completely avoidable risk may help children avoid cardiovascular problems as adults.