Prevalence of hypertension and pre-hypertension among adolescents

J Pediatr. 2007 Jun;150(6):640-4, 644.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2007.01.052.


Objective: To determine the prevalence of hypertension and pre-hypertension on the basis of the 2004 National High Blood Pressure Education Program Working Group guidelines in an adolescent school-screening population.

Study design: Cross-sectional assessment of blood pressure (BP) in 6790 adolescents (11-17 years) in Houston schools was conducted from 2003 to 2005. Initial measurements included height, weight, and 4 oscillometric BP readings. Repeat measurements were obtained on 2 subsequent occasions in students with persistently elevated BP. Final prevalence was adjusted for loss to follow-up and logistic regression used to assess risk factors.

Results: BP distribution at initial screen was 81.1% normal, 9.5% pre-hypertension, and 9.4% hypertension (8.4% Stage 1; 1% Stage 2). Prevalence after 3 screenings was 81.1% normal, 15.7% pre-hypertension, and 3.2% hypertension (2.6% Stage 1; 0.6% Stage 2). Hypertension and pre-hypertension increased with increasing body mass index. Sex, race, and classification as either at-risk for overweight or overweight were independently associated with pre-hypertension. Only classification as overweight was associated with hypertension.

Conclusions: Application of new classification guidelines for adolescents with elevated BP reveals approximately 20% are at risk for hypertension. Further research determining the significance of each BP category and refining definitions to account for BP variability is warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Hypertension / ethnology
  • Male
  • Texas / epidemiology
  • White People / statistics & numerical data