Prevalence and incidence of hypertension in adolescent girls

J Pediatr. 2010 Sep;157(3):461-7, 467.e1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2010.03.032. Epub 2010 May 20.


Objective: To estimate the prevalence and incidence of hypertension and prehypertension and associated factors in adolescent girls.

Study design: A total of 2368 girls (49% Caucasian, 51% African-American) aged 9 or 10 years enrolled in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Growth and Health Study had blood pressure, height, and weight measured at annual visits through age 18 to 19 years. Prevalence and incidence of hypertension and prehypertension were calculated.

Results: On the basis of 2 visits, hypertension prevalence was approximately 1% to 2% in African-American girls and 0.5% in Caucasian girls. Incidence in 8 years was 5.0% and 2.1%, respectively. Obese girls had higher prevalence (approximately 6-fold higher) and incidence (approximately 2- to 3-fold higher) compared with girls of normal weight. Similar patterns were found for prehypertension, except that prehypertension occurred more in older girls than younger girls. Dietary factors (lower intake of fiber, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, and higher intake of caffeine and calories) were each associated with hypertension incidence (all P<.05). In multivariate analysis, higher body mass index (P<.001) and lower potassium intake (P=.023) were independently associated with incidence of hypertension.

Conclusions: Hypertension occurred early in childhood and was related to obesity and other modifiable lifestyle factors. Clinicians should monitor blood pressure during childhood and provide focused diet and physical activity guidance to minimize the development of hypertension.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Incidence
  • Prevalence