Introduction: All students (N = 2053) in Anadarko public schools, grades kindergarten through 12, were invited to be screened for height, weight, and blood pressure to assess the health status of this multiracial, multiethnic (American Indian, white, African American, and Hispanic) population in southwestern Oklahoma.
Methods: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2000 growth charts were used to determine body mass index (BMI) percentiles, and standards from the National High Blood Pressure Education Program Working Group on Hypertension Control in Children and Adolescents were used to assess blood pressure.
Results: Seven hundred sixty-nine students with active consent participated in the screening. Of these, approximately 28% were overweight. American Indians were at significantly greater risk of being overweight or at risk for overweight than whites (relative risk [RR], 1.4; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1-1.7) as were African Americans (RR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.1-2.0), whereas Hispanics (RR, 1.3; 95% CI, 0.9-2.0) did not have a statistically significant increased risk compared with whites. BMI at or above the 95th percentile was strongly associated with elevated blood pressure (> or =90th percentile) (RR, 3.8; 95% CI, 2.6-5.4).
Conclusion: Students who participated in this BMI screening in the Anadarko public school system evidenced high rates of excess weight, with American Indians and African Americans at greatest risk. Elevated BMI was strongly associated with elevated blood pressure.