Questions for ‘High blood pressure can affect kids but often goes undiagnosed’

a tween in a tank top wears a blood pressure cuff around his upper arm while a doctor takes his blood pressure and his mother puts her hand on his shoulder

Blood pressure can be measured with a cuff on your arm. Dangerously high blood pressure can affect even young kids, and too few doctors are screening for it, two new reports warn.

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To accompany ‘High blood pressure can affect kids but often goes undiagnosed


Before Reading:

  1. Consider the term “high blood pressure.” Without using the word “pressure,” describe what “high blood pressure” means for a human body. Identify two structures or organs that might be affected by this condition. To the best of your understanding, describe the impact of high blood pressure on each of these structures.
  2. Do you typically associate high blood pressure with mostly younger people, mostly older people or both equally? What observations did you use to come up with your answer? How confident do you feel about the accuracy of your response to the first part of this question? In other words, do you feel very confident, somewhat confident or uncertain?

During Reading:

  1. What does it mean to have hypertension?
  2. List two organs affected by high blood pressure.
  3. According to Bonita Falkner, why do many pediatricians not screen kids for high blood pressure?
  4. What does BMI stand for? How is BMI calculated?
  5. What is the “normal” BMI range for a typical 16-year-old?
  6. Besides weight, what else does Poornima Kunani think doctors should ask kids about to assess their risk of having or developing high blood pressure? 
  7. What two lifestyle changes mentioned in this story might decrease your chances of high blood pressure?

After Reading:

  1. Kunani mentions that not all kids and families will have ready access to healthy foods. What point is she making by stating that fact? Identify one factor outside of a child’s control that can make choosing healthy foods hard for a kid. To what extent do you feel it’s important to increase the accessibility of healthy foods? Come up with a change that we could make that would give more children access to healthy foods. Would it be easy or hard to put into effect? Would it be costly, relatively inexpensive — or free?
  2. Imagine you are a doctor who wants to improve the process used to screen kids for high blood pressure. When you make these suggestions, however, the other doctors dismiss your concerns by saying, “We’ve always done it this way. After all, high blood pressure isn’t usually a problem in kids.” What might you say to your fellow doctors? Use data from this story to support your response.