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Ethn Dis. 2011 Winter;21(1):68-73.

Impact of an urban community hypertension screening program on participating high school students.

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Stroke Center and Department of Neurology, UCLA Medical Center, CA 90095, USA.



Hypertension is increasingly being recognized as a major health problem in adolescents, particularly those of minority ethnicity. We assessed elevated blood pressure (BP) prevalence and predictors, as well as the impact of participating in a community hypertension screening program among high school students in an urban school district.


In 2008, 603 predominantly Hispanic students from nine Los Angeles high schools in predominantly Hispanic communities were recruited and trained to screen for high BP (> or = 140/90 mm Hg) in their communities. As part of the program, students measured one another's blood pressure and completed a pre- and post-assessment (2 weeks later), which measured hypertension risk factors, knowledge, interest in health careers, and empowerment. A multivariable analysis using logistic regression evaluated the association between several factors and presence of elevated BP.


Eighty-two (14%) of students had BP readings in the hypertensive range, with 78 (95%) of whom had no prior diagnosis of hypertension. Being overweight (OR 2.85, 95% CI = 1.31-6.20) or obese (OR 8.90, 95% CI = 3.83-20.69) were the only factors independently associated with elevated BP. Significant increases were observed in student knowledge regarding hypertension and interest pursuing three of five health professions (P < .05), but no significant change in student empowerment was noted.


One in six urban district high school students screened in this study had presence of elevated BP, the overwhelming majority of whom had no prior hypertension diagnosis. Program participation slightly boosted health career interest and hypertension knowledge. Involvement of urban high school students in self-screening hypertension programs may be of benefit.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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