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Study: Heavy Internet Use May Cause High Blood Pressure in Teens

FILE - A man uses a computer at an internet cafe in central Beijing, China, December 28, 2012.
FILE - A man uses a computer at an internet cafe in central Beijing, China, December 28, 2012.

Heavy Internet use may lead to high blood pressure among teenagers, according to a new study.

The results showed that teens who spent at least 14 hours a week online were found to be at risk for elevated blood pressure.

The study by Henry Ford Hospital looked at a sample of 335 14- to 17-year-olds in the Detroit, Michigan area. Of 134 teens described as “heavy Internet users,” 26 had elevated blood pressure, researchers said.

The researchers also said this was the first study to link heavy web use and high blood pressure. Other research has suggested that heavy Internet use can cause a variety of health problems such as anxiety, depression and obesity.

"Using the Internet is part of our daily life but it shouldn't consume us," said the study's lead author, Andrea Cassidy-Bushrow, in a statement. "In our study, teens considered heavy Internet users were on the Internet an average of 25 hours a week.”

She added that it was important for teens to take “regular breaks from their computer or smartphones and engage in some kind of physical activity.”

She suggested that parents limit their children's use of the Internet to two hours a day, five days a week.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 70 million, or 29 percent, of American adults have high blood pressure. Just over half of those have taken steps to control it.

The CDC estimates high blood pressure costs the United States $46 billion each year.

The study was published in the Journal of School Nursing.

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