Prevalence of elevated blood pressure and association with overweight in children of a rapidly developing country

J Hum Hypertens. 2007 Feb;21(2):120-7. doi: 10.1038/sj.jhh.1002125. Epub 2006 Nov 30.


We assessed the prevalence of elevated blood pressure (BP) and the association with excess body weight among a large sample of children in the Seychelles, a middle-income rapidly developing country in the African region. Weight, height and BP were measured in all children of four school grades in the Seychelles (Indian Ocean). Excess weight categories ('overweight' and 'obesity') were defined according to the criteria of the International Obesity Task Force. Two BP readings were obtained on one occasion. 'Elevated BP' was defined based on US reference tables. Data were available in 15,612 (86%) of 18,119 eligible children aged 5-16 years in 2002-2004. In all, 13.0% of Boys and 18.8% of girls were overweight or obese. The prevalence of elevated BP was 9.1% in boys and 10.1% in girls. Both systolic and diastolic BP were strongly associated with body mass index (BMI) in boys and in girls. In children with 'normal weight', 'overweight (and not obesity)' and 'obesity', respectively, proportions with elevated BP were 7.5, 16.9 and 25.2% in boys, and 7.5, 16.1 and 33.2% in girls. Overweight (including obesity) could account for 18% of cases of elevated BP in boys and 26% in girls. Further studies should examine the impact of the relationship between BMI and elevated BP on the burden of hypertension in the context of the epidemic of paediatric obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Hypertension / etiology
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Overweight*
  • Prevalence
  • Seychelles / epidemiology