Race and ethnicity may tip the scale on how often
adolescents with obesity also develop hypertension, according to a new study in
the May 2017 Pediatrics. For the study, “Race and Obesity in Adolescent Hypertension
” (published online Monday, April 10), researchers measured the
blood pressure, along with height and weight for body-mass index (BMI), of more
than 21,000 adolescents at 27 Houston area schools between 2000 to 2015.
Readings were taken on three separate occasions to identify students, who
ranged in age from 10 to 19, with sustained hypertension. Overall, about
one-third of the adolescents were overweight or obese, which aligned with
national estimates, and students in these categories had the top overall rates
of hypertension. Researchers noted a disproportionate rise in the
prevalence of hypertension among obese Hispanic and white students (7.7 percent
and 7.4 percent, respectively), however. Conversely, while blacks had the
highest prevalence of hypertension among normal weight (2 percent) and
overweight (2.8 percent) subjects, they had the lowest rate of hypertension
among obese subjects (4.5 percent). The Asian cohort had lower hypertension
rates across all BMI groups. As early-onset cardiovascular disease becomes a
growing problem among U.S. youth, the study’s authors said their findings
support the need for a variable approach to BMI interpretation in a racially
and ethnically diverse population.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 66,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org
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