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Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2012 Nov 5;11:136. doi: 10.1186/1475-2840-11-136.

Association between body size and blood pressure in children from different ethnic origins.

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Department of Public Health, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, P,O, Box 22660, 1100 DD, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.



To assess associations between body size and blood pressure in children (5-6 years) from different ethnic origins.


Five ethnic groups of the ABCD cohort were examined: Dutch (n=1 923), Turkish (n=99), Moroccan (n=187), Black-African (n=67) and Black-Caribbean (n=121). Data on body-mass-index (BMI), waist-to-height ratio (WHtR), fat-mass-index (FMI), and systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP), were collected. Linear regression analysis with restricted cubic splines was used to examine non-linear associations between body size and blood pressure, adjusted for age, sex, height and birth weight.


Ethnic differences were found in associations of BMI with SBP and DBP (SBP: p=0.001 and DBP: p=0.01) and FMI with SBP (p=0.03). BMI and FMI had a relatively large positive association with SBP in Turkish children (BMI: β=2.46mmHg; 95%CI:1.20-3.72; FMI: β=2.41mmHg; 95%CI:1.09-3.73) compared to Dutch (BMI: β=1.31mmHg; 95%CI:0.71-1.92; FMI: β=0.84mmHg; 95%CI:0.23-1.45). Black-Caribbean and Moroccan children showed high blood pressure with low BMI and FMI. Moroccan children showed higher SBP with high BMI and FMI. WHtR was positively associated with SBP and DBP, similar in all ethnic groups. Generally, strongest associations with blood pressure were found for BMI in all ethnic groups.


Ethnic-specific associations between BMI, and FMI and blood pressure are present at young age, with Turkish children showing the highest increase in blood pressure with increasing body size. The higher blood pressure in the Black-Caribbean and Moroccan children with low BMI needs further research. WHtR or FMI do not seem to be associated more strongly to blood pressure than BMI in any ethnic group.

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