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Study: Nearly 1 in 5 young adults has high blood pressure

May 26, 2011 12:27:10 AM PDT
A new study suggests more young people need to be concerned about high blood pressure.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill followed 14,000 kids from adolescence to adulthood. They found the number of young adults with high blood pressure is close to one in five, or 19 percent.

That's much higher than previous estimates of about 4 percent.

Researchers believe the increase can be attributed largely to the obesity epidemic in America, combined with a diet high in sodium-laden processed foods and very little exercise. To make things worse, most of the 24 to 32 year olds in the study had no idea there was a problem.