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Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2004 Feb;14(1):26-33.

Short stature, obesity and arterial hypertension in a very low income population in North-eastern Brazil.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, Federal University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil. telmatf_al@hotmail.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND AIM:

This cross-sectional study involved the adult population (age >18 and <60 years) of a 315-shack slum on the outskirts of the city of Maceió in North-eastern Brazil. The purpose was to investigate whether short stature in adults (an indicator of undernutrition in early life) is associated with arterial hypertension and obesity.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

We collected the subjects socio-economic data, and arterial hypertension (AH), weight, height, waist circumference and waist/hip (W/H) circumference ratio measurements. Hypertension was diagnosed as diastolic AH f 90 mmHg and/or systolic AH f 140 mmHg. The body mass index (BMI) was used to determine nutritional status, with overweight/obesity being defined on the basis of a cut-off point of 25 kg/m2. A W/H ratio of f 0.80 for women or f 0.95 for men was considered indicative of abdominal obesity. Short stature was defined as falling into the 1st quartile (Q) of height distribution. Hypertension was prevalent in 28.5% of the population (women=38.5%; men=18.4%). The systolic and diastolic AH readings were significantly higher in women in the 1st Q than in those in the 4th Q, and the same was true of W/H. The prevalence of hypertension was statistically significant for the first two Q's in comparison with the last two: 22.1% vs 14.6% (men), and 42.4% vs 34.6% (women). Hypertension was more prevalent in women who were obese and short (50%) than in those who were obese but not short (OR=1.98; CI=1.22-2.96).

CONCLUSIONS:

Living conditions were extremely precarious and the prevalence of hypertension was quite high. Stature negatively correlated with hypertension and overweight in women but not in men.

PMID:
15053161
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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