The increasing prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors in children and adolescents has been largely, but not entirely, related to the childhood obesity epidemic. Among the noted risk factors detectable in children is elevated blood pressure. Emerging findings indicate that in addition to overweight and obesity, sodium intake is associated with elevated blood pressure in youth. Moreover, dietary sodium intake is quite high and well above recommended levels throughout childhood. In adults, the relationship of sodium consumption with hypertension is well established, and there is evidence from both population and clinical studies that potassium intake is also associated with blood pressure. Higher potassium intake is associated with lower blood pressure; and potassium deficit leads to an increase in blood pressure. Findings on relationships of potassium intake with blood pressure in childhood are sparse. There are some reports that provide evidence that a dietary pattern that includes potassium-rich foods is associated with lower blood pressure and may also lower blood pressure in adolescents with elevated blood pressure. Considering the secular changes in dietary patterns throughout childhood, it is prudent to encourage a diet for children that is high in potassium-rich foods.
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Dr. Falkner declares no conflicts of interest relevant to this manuscript.
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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
This article is part of the Topical Collection on Pediatric Hypertension
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Falkner, B. Does Potassium Deficiency Contribute to Hypertension in Children and Adolescents?. Curr Hypertens Rep 19, 37 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11906-017-0733-2