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Am J Hypertens. 2009 Jan;22(1):59-67. doi: 10.1038/ajh.2008.312. Epub 2008 Nov 27.

Trends of elevated blood pressure among children and adolescents: data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey1988-2006.

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Division of Health Nutrition Examination Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hyattsville, Maryland, USA.



Elevated blood pressure (EBP) in children and adolescents increases future risk of cardiovascular disease. Among children and adolescents, increased weight is associated with EBP.


National cross-sectional data for children and adolescents aged 8-17 years from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANESs): 1988-1994, 1999-2002, and 2003-2006. The main outcome measures were EBP and pre-EBP estimates.


Overweight boys (odds ratio (OR) 1.54, confidence interval (CI) 1.11-2.13) and both obese boys and girls were significantly more likely to be classified as pre-EBP (boys, OR 2.81, CI 2.13-3.71; girls, OR 2.55, CI 1.75-3.73) and having EBP (boys aged 8-12 years, OR 6.06, CI 2.73-13.44, boys aged 13-17, OR 9.62 CI 4.86-19.06; girls, OR 2.33, CI 1.31-4.13) when compared to the reference weight and controlling for all other covariates.During 2003-2006, 13.6% (s.e. = 1.2) of boys aged 8-17 years and 5.7% (s.e. = 0.7) of the girls aged 8-17 years were classified as pre-EBP and 2.6% (s.e. = 0.5) of the boys aged 8-17 and 3.4% (s.e. = 0.7) of the girls aged 8-17 were having EBP. After controlling for age, race/ethnicity, and body mass index (BMI), girls only were significantly more likely to have EBP during 2003-2006 than during 1988-1994 (OR 2.17, CI 1.05-4.49). In contrast, adolescent boys aged 13-17 years were significantly less likely to be having EBP during 2003-2006 than during 1988-1994 (OR 0.32, CI 0.13-0.81).


Obesity is strongly, positively, and independently associated with EBP and pre-EBP among youths. However, controlling for all covariates including BMI, EBP has increased among girls but decreased among adolescent boys aged 13-17, during 2003-2006 when compared with 1988-1994.

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