Better Stress Management in Teens Means Better Blood Pressure as Adults

Today’s teens are well acquainted with stress, thanks to piles of schoolwork, extracurricular activities, college applications, and part-time jobs. But there’s good reason to chill out: How well kids deal with stress could have a long-term impact on their future health, according to a new study in the journal Heart.

Researchers from Stanford University in California and Lund University in Sweden found that young adults who tend to be easily stressed are more likely to develop high blood pressure as older adults. The researchers analyzed records of more than 1.5 million 18-year-old men in Sweden over nearly 30 years.

By 2012, more than 93,000 men had developed high blood pressure. Researchers found that low stress resilience at age 18 was associated with an increased risk of developing high blood pressure as adults. Young men who scored in the bottom 20 percent for stress resilience had a 40 percent higher risk of developing high blood pressure than those with stress resilience scores in the highest 20 percent.

So what’s a stressed-out teen (or his/her parent) to do? Logging more sleep and exercise time can help tame tension, as can cutting back on caffeine and foregoing fast food in favor of a healthy diet. Check out my Food Fixes to Ease Stress for more ways to take a delicious bite out of stress.