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J Pediatr Nurs. 2010 Apr;25(2):119-25. doi: 10.1016/j.pedn.2008.09.003. Epub 2009 Apr 7.

Overweight and central adiposity in school-age children and links with hypertension.

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  • 1University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX, USA.


The purpose of this study of school-age children was to estimate prevalence and interrelationships of overweight, central adiposity, and hypertension. It included 1,070 children in kindergarten through sixth grade (67% Hispanic, 26% African American, mean age = 8.9 years). Measures included body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), systolic and/or diastolic hypertension identified by measurements on three separate occasions. Percentage overweight (BMI >or=95th percentile) was 28.7%, 17.9% were at risk of overweight, 28.8% had WC >or=90th percentile, and 9.4% had elevated (>or=90th percentile) systolic and/or diastolic blood pressure (BP). If we had screened only for BMI and examined those with BMI >or=85th percentile or underweight for hypertension, we would have missed 26% of the children with persistently elevated BP. WC explained variance in elevated BP not explained by BMI (p < .001). Measurement of WC is easily incorporated in a school-based screening protocol.

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