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Revista Paulista de Pediatria

Print version ISSN 0103-0582


RINALDI, Ana Elisa M. et al. Prevalence of elevated blood pressure in children and adolescents attending highschool. Rev. paul. pediatr. [online]. 2012, vol.30, n.1, pp.79-86. ISSN 0103-0582.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the prevalence of elevated blood pressure in schoolchildren and adolescents and the association of blood pressure with anthropometric measures. METHODS: This cross-sectional study, conducted in three schools in Botucatu, Brazil, collected blood pressure (BP) measurements taken at three different time points and anthropometric data: weight, height, body mass index (BMI), arm circumference, waist circumference, triceps and subscapular skinfolds. Blood pressure was measured using the auscultation method, and children were classified into two groups: pre-hypertension or hypertension for values between the 90th and 95th percentiles or above the 95th percentile. Data were compared according to sex using the Student's t test. The Pearson correlation coefficient was used to evaluate the association between blood pressure and anthropometric data. To evaluate blood pressure, the Z score according to BMI percentile categories, one-factor analysis of variance (ANOVA) and the Tukey post hoc test were used. RESULTS: This study evaluated 903 children and adolescents (51.7% boys) whose mean age was 9.3±2.5 years. The prevalence of pre-hypertension and hypertension was 9.1% and 2.9%. There was a positive correlation between both systolic and diastolic blood pressure and anthropometric variables, especially for weight (r=0.53 and r=0.45, p<0.05) and waist circumference (r=0.50 and r=0.38, p<0.05). CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of elevated blood pressure in this study was similar to what has been reported in international and national studies. A positive correlation with abnormal anthropometric measures was found. These results suggest that overweight affects blood pressure already in childhood.

Keywords : hypertension; pre-hypertension; child; adolescent; obesity.

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