Urban road-traffic noise and blood pressure and heart rate in preschool children

Environ Int. 2008 Feb;34(2):226-31. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2007.08.003. Epub 2007 Sep 14.


Night time noise exposure has very rarely been used in previous studies on the relationship between community noise and children's blood pressure, although children spend a larger part of their night time sleeping at home than adults. For this reason, we focused on night time noise exposure at children's residences and daytime noise at kindergartens. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of urban road-traffic noise on children's blood pressure and heart rate. A cross-sectional study was performed on 328 preschool children (174 boys and 154 girls) aged 3-7 years, who attended 10 public kindergartens in Belgrade. Equivalent noise levels (Leq) were measured during night in front of children's residences and during day in front of kindergartens. A residence was regarded noisy if Leq exceeded 45 dB (A) during night and quiet if the Leq was < or =45 dB (A). Noisy and quiet kindergartens were those with daily Leq>60 dB (A) and < or =60 dB (A), respectively. Children's blood pressure was measured with mercury sphygmomanometer. Heart rate was counted by radial artery palpitation for 1 min. The prevalence of children with hypertensive values of blood pressure was 3.96% (13 children, including 8 boys and 5 girls) with higher prevalence in children from noisy residences (5.70%), compared to children from quiet residences (1.48%). The difference was borderline significant (p=0.054). Systolic pressure was significantly higher (5 mm Hg on average) among children from noisy residences and kindergartens, compared to children from both quiet environments (p<0.01). Heart rate was significantly higher (2 beats/min on average) in children from noisy residences, compared to children from quiet residences (p<0.05). Multiple regression, after allowing for possible confounders, showed a significant correlation between noise exposure and children's systolic pressure (B=1.056; p=0.009).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Pressure*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cities
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Housing
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Noise, Transportation*
  • Schools
  • Yugoslavia