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Minerva Pediatr. 2006 Oct;58(5):451-9.

Overweight and hypertension: longitudinal study in school-aged children.

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Pediatric Unit, Prevention and Public Health, USL Fg 1, Via Aspromonte 9/A, 71016 San Severo, Foggia, Italy.



A continuous increase in overweight has been documented in the paediatric population. The increase occurred in many developed and also developing countries. In the United States prevalence of overweight is 21.5% among African-Americans, 21.8% among Hispanics, and 12.3% among non-Hispanic whites; in Europe, from 10% to 20% in Northern Europe and 20% to as high as 36% in parts of Southern Italy (International Obesity Task Force data). The association between overweight and hypertension in children has been reported. This longitudinal study assessed the prevalence of hypertension and the relationships between gender, overweight, and blood pressure.


School-based screening was performed in 1.563 children (3-16 years). Age, gender, height, weight and blood pressure were registered every year for 3 subsequent years, in the period 1997-2000. Body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) was calculated and overweight was defined as centile corresponding to BMI = or >25 at 18 years. Blood pressure > 95th centile defined hypertension.


The prevalence of elevated blood pressure at first, second and third screenings was 35.1%, 33.8% and 23.9% in males, and 41%, 40.2% and 31.2% in females. The relative risk was significant for overweight subjects.


These results confirm an increasing epidemic of cardiovascular risk in children, as evidenced by an increase in the prevalence of overweight and hypertension. This increase in association with other cardiovascular risk factors that include dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, type II diabetes mellitus, suggest the necessity of accurate prevention strategies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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