Blood Pressure and Body Mass Index Among Adolescents | Journal Scan

Study Questions:

Are trends in body mass index (BMI) between 1998 and 2011 associated with blood pressure (BP) among healthy adolescents?


Data from adolescents between 16 and 20 years who completed medical exams conducted as part of the assessment for Israeli Defense Force combat between 1999 and 2011 were included in the study. Only those who had data on BP and BMI and were fit for combat duties were included. The exam consisted of a medical evaluation completed by the potential recruit and the family physician in addition to a physical exam. A resting BP was collected as part of this exam. BMI was categorized by deciles.


A total 714,922 individuals including 422,213 (59%) males and 292,709 (41%) females were included in the study. The mean age was 17.4 years, and the mean BMI was 22 kg/m2. The number of adolescents who were considered overweight (defined as a BMI >25 kg/m2) rose from 13.2% in 1998 to 21% in 2011 (p for trend < 0.001). BP was positively associated with BMI. Over the time period examined, both systolic and diastolic BP increased with each decile of BMI. After adjustment for additional potential confounders, each unit increase in BMI was associated with an increase in systolic BP above 130 mm Hg for both genders (odds ratio [OR] 1.108, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.107-1.110 for males, and OR 1.114, 95% CI 1.139-1.146 for females). BMI was also positively associated with diastolic BP.


The investigators concluded that BMI among adolescents was associated with systolic and diastolic BP in both males and females. This relationship was present among those in normal weight and overweight categories. The investigators observed a trend of increasing BMI over the years examined.


These data support the need for programs to prevent and reduce elevated BMI among children and adolescents. With trends showing increases in BMI among young individuals, further increases in the numbers of adults with hypertension are likely.

Clinical Topics: Congenital Heart Disease and Pediatric Cardiology, Heart Failure and Cardiomyopathies, Prevention, CHD and Pediatrics and Arrhythmias, CHD and Pediatrics and Prevention, CHD and Pediatrics and Quality Improvement, Hypertension

Keywords: Blood Pressure, Blood Pressure Determination, Adolescent, Body Mass Index, Hypertension, Obesity, Overweight, Physicians, Family, Systole, Primary Prevention, Cross-Sectional Studies

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