Arterial Blood Pressure and Body Mass Index of Children and Adolescents in a Family Health Unit
Introduction: In recent decades, an increase in the prevalence of overweight and obesity as well as hypertension in children and adolescents has been identified. Hypertension in the paediatric age is recognized as a predictor factor of hypertension in early adulthood. We intend to evaluate the prevalence of overweight and obese children and adolescents in a primary health care unit and verify if there is an association with increased blood pressure.
Methods: Retrospective study of children enrolled in a family health unit (FHU), evaluated at the last health surveillance visit who are 3 years of age or older. Demographic and anthropometric data and the last blood pressure values were analysed as well as the existence of an association between overweight and obesity and hypertension using Excel® and SPSS®.
Results: A sample of 1,625 was obtained, 14.7% of the patients were overweight and 9.4% were obese. Blood pressure was evaluated in 1,325 patients (81.5%), of who 6.9% had blood pressure values from 90th to <95th percentile or blood pressure equal or exceeding 120/80 mmHg in adolescents; 2.4% had blood pressure from 95th percentile to the 99th percentile plus 5 mmHg and 0.2% had blood pressure above the 99th percentile plus 5 mmHg. We found an association between overweight and obesity and blood pressure values ≥ P90 (p < 0.001); there was a strong association between overweight or obesity and blood pressure values ≥ P95 (adjusted residues 3.6); children without overweight or obesity had a strong association with normal blood pressure values (adjusted residues 5.0).
Discussion: About 25% of the sample are overweight or obese, 10% have blood pressure ≥ P90 and there is a statistically significant association between overweight or obesity and increased blood pressure values. Lifestyle change and weight control are crucial to avoiding the early development of hypertension.
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