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Ask the Expert:

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ Robert M. Haws, M.D.

Robert M. Haws, M.D.
Pediatric Nephrologist
Sees patients at Marshfield Clinic Centers in Marshfield, Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Minocqua, Wausau, Weston and Wisconsin Rapids.

Question: Should I be concerned about high blood pressure in my child?​ 

Absolutely! We are seeing a substantial increase in the incidence of hypertension, or high blood pressure, in children.​

Short-term, we know that hypertension in children reduces their ability to concentrate in school, affecting their test scores.

Over time, high blood pressure puts them at risk for deadly complications such as stroke, heart attack and kidney damage.

More children are developing hypertension because too many parents are letting their own unhealthy lifestyles become ingrained in their children.

They plop themselves down in front of the tube night after night, throw a frozen pizza in the oven for dinner and drive a few blocks to the store rather than walking.

This new American lifestyle is taking a horrible toll on our health.

Instead, we need to get our children out for walks and encourage them to run around, ride a bike, play basketball or do other physical activities.

For treats, offer an orange or banana instead of a candy bar or chips.

Serve water instead of soda or juice filled with caffeine, sugar and sodium, and take the time to prepare nutritious meals that are lower in fat and sodium than prepackaged food.

These kinds of lifestyle changes may not be easy at first, but they will pay dividends for you—and your children.​​


Marshfield Clinic's ​ ​ pediatric nephrology experts​ provide care in a number of our centers. Your primary care doctor can refer you to the appropriate specialty and location.​​​​​​​