Objectives: Our goal was to report the prevalence of elevated blood pressure and lipid levels among eighth-grade adolescents from 3 US locations and differences by gender, ethnicity, and overweight percentile group.
Methods: Fasting blood samples and blood pressure levels were obtained from 1717 eighth-grade students from 12 predominantly minority schools in 3 states (Texas, California, and North Carolina) during spring 2003. Age, gender, ethnicity, weight, and height were ascertained and BMI calculated. The presence of abnormal total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides, prehypertension, hypertension, at risk for overweight, and overweight were calculated and compared with the findings of previous youth studies. We examined whether prevalence differed by gender, ethnicity, or BMI group.
Results: A total of 23.9% of participants had high blood pressure, 16.7% had borderline total cholesterol, 4.0% had high total cholesterol, 10.5% had borderline low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, 3.9% had high low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, 13.3% had low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and 17.2% had high triglycerides. A total of 19.8% of participants were at risk of overweight (BMI > or = 85th percentile, < 95th percentile) and 29% were overweight (BMI > or = 95th percentile). The prevalence of risk factors was associated (P < .05) with the overweight group and differed by age and gender.
Conclusions: Prevalence of elevated blood pressure was higher in this sample than in previous national surveys in which subjects were less overweight. Associations between overweight and both elevated lipid and blood pressure levels suggest that adolescents overweight or at risk for overweight should be screened for elevated blood pressure and lipid levels.