Greater waist circumference may predict elevated BP in children, adolescents

Elaine Soliven
06 Nov 2017
Greater waist circumference may predict elevated BP in children, adolescents

Greater waist circumference (WC) may be a useful predictor for elevated blood pressure (BP) in children and adolescents, according to a study presented at the 13th Asian-Pacific Congress of Hypertension held in Singapore.

Researchers gathered data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey and analysed 9,038 normal weight children and adolescents (aged 7–17 years). Participants were divided into five groups according to WC percentiles: group 1 (n=2,430; WC below the 25th percentile), group 2 (n=2,568; 25th percentile ≤WC below the 50th percentile), group 3 (n=2,437; 50th percentile ≤WC below the 75th percentile), group 4 (n=1,168; 75th percentile ≤WC below the 90th percentile), and group 5 (n=435; WC above or equal to 90th percentile). [APCH 2017, abstract 4697]

After adjusting for age and gender, mean BP levels increased with greater WC (95.98/63.11 mm Hg, 97.74/64.10 mm Hg, 99.65/65.33 mm Hg, 101.10/66.59 mm Hg, and 102.38/67.96 mm Hg in groups 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, respectively) among all subjects.

Incidence of elevated BP also increased with greater WC (5.8, 9.9, 13.4, 18.4, and 23.5 percent for boys and 8.2, 9.1, 10.4, 13.4, and 20.8 percent for girls in groups 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, respectively).

Compared with patients in group 1, an increased risk of elevated BP was noted in patients in group 2 (odds ratio [OR], 1.39, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.13–1.71; p=0.002), group 3 (OR, 1.70, 95 percent CI, 1.39–2.08; p<0.001), group 4 (OR, 2.21, 95 percent CI, 1.76–2.77; p<0.001), and group 5 (OR, 3.10, 95 percent CI, 2.34–4.11; p<0.001).

The findings were consistent with a previous study which revealed that normal-weight children and adolescents with central obesity might have a higher risk of elevated BP. [Eur J Pediatr 2014;173:285-289]

“WC provided reliable information about visceral fat in children … Additional measurement of WC is better than [body mass index] alone to help identify high BP risks,” said lead author Dr Bo Xi from the Department of Epidemiology at the School of Public Health in Shandong University, Jinan, China.
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