Blood pressure among overweight adolescents from urban school children in Pune, India

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007 May;61(5):633-41. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602555. Epub 2006 Nov 29.


Objectives: To examine the magnitude of overweight and its association with blood pressure (BP) among adolescents.

Design: Cross-sectional study with all children in age range 9-16 years (n=1146 boys and 1077 girls) from two schools catering to urban affluent high socio-economic class (HSE), for anthropometric measurements by trained investigators and BP measurement by a pediatrician using sphygmomanometer.

Results: The prevalence of overweight based on conventional body mass index (BMI) cutoff was 27.5% for boys and 20.9% for girls but varied for different indicators. Prevalence of high systolic blood pressure (HSBP) was 12.0% in boys and 9.7% in girls and increased with increasing levels of BMI, weight, triceps skin fold thickness (TSFT) and percent body fat. Mean level of SBP among overweight children was significantly (P<0.001) higher by about 12 mm Hg, whereas that for diastolic blood pressure was higher by 8 mm Hg (P<0.001) as compared to their non-overweight (age, sex-matched) counterparts. This was true in both sexes and for all indicators used for assessing overweight. Prevalence of HSBP increased suddenly beyond BMI value of 20 kg/m2 in boys and 21.5 kg/m2 in girls, beyond TSFT value of 12 mm for boys and 14 mm for girls whereas such cutoffs for body fat were above 25% in both sexes. These cutoffs appear much lower than the conventional ones and therefore indicate the need for validation of conventional cutoffs in different populations.

Conclusions: Our findings highlight that BP measurement needs to be a routine part of physical examination in school children, and the use of cutoffs anchored to metabolic risks may be essential for assessment of obesity.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology
  • Anthropometry
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / physiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Hypertension / etiology
  • India / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Overweight*
  • Prevalence
  • Reference Standards
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Class
  • Urban Population