Kids who have high blood pressure are not as good at complicated, goal-directed tasks, and are not as adept at planning as their peers without hypertension.
The study also found if kids are both hypertensive and obese, they are also more likely to have anxiety and depression.
For the study, Marc Lande, M.D., a paediatric nephrologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and colleagues enrolled 32 newly diagnosed hypertensive children and adolescents (10 to 18 years old) from the Paediatric Hypertension Clinic at the University's Golisano Children's Hospital.
Children who didn't have sustained hypertension or had previous medical issues that affected learning or sleeping were excluded.
Thirty-two children with normal blood pressure were recruited from the hospital's paediatric practice and other area paediatric practices and were matched with the hypertensive children by age, weight, sex, race IQ and socio-economic level.
The parents of both sets of 32 children answered a series of surveys to determine their children's executive function.
Lande said preliminary results suggest that treatment of hypertension in children may improve their cognitive executive functions, indicating that the changes in cognition associated with hypertension may be reversible with treatment to normalize the blood pressure. .
The study has been published in the Journal of Paediatrics this month.