Objective: Recent studies have reported an increasing prevalence of childhood hypertension. Obesity is probably the most important risk factor. The relationship between hypertension and BMI in children has not been studied in Ankara, which is the second largest city in Turkey.
Design: Cross-sectional study analysing direct data on height, weight and blood pressure of students.
Setting: Population-based study in Ankara, the capital city of Turkey.
Subjects: In three schools, 2826 students aged 7-12 years.
Results: The overall prevalence of hypertension was 7·9 %. Among the 222 hypertensive children, 124 (56 %) were boys and ninety-eight (44 %) were girls (P=0·40). In the whole group, 3·6 % had only systolic hypertension, 0·7 % had only diastolic hypertension and 3·5 % had both systolic and diastolic hypertension. The prevalences of overweight and obesity were both 13·9 %. BMI was significantly correlated with blood pressure (P<0·001). Overweight and obesity were more common in boys (P<0·001).
Conclusions: Hypertension was more common than has been reported in other studies. Blood pressure measurement should be routine and frequent in children, especially obese children.