Prehypertension and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Children and Adolescents Participating in the Community-Based Prevention Education Program Family Heart Study

Gerda-Maria Haas, Thomas Bertsch, Peter Schwandt


Background: Because prehypertension identifies children most at risk for the development of future hypertensive disease, the purpose of this study was, to examine the association of prehypertension with risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in a large sample of youths participating in the community-based prevention education program family heart study.

Methods: We estimated blood pressure and body mass index (BMI) for age and the lipid profile in terms of total cholesterol (TC), low-density-lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C), high density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C), non-HDL-C, triglycerides (TG) and the LDL-C to HDL-C ratio.

Results: Among 10,841 (5,628 males) children and adolescents 1,587 (14.6%) had prehypertension (85th to <95th percentile). This was strongly affected by weight, resulting in 19.7% in overweight (BMI≥85th percentile) and 23.7% in obese (>95th percentile) youth. The prevalence of dyslipidemia was similar in prehypertensive boys and girls in terms of LDL-C 11.2% versus 11.8%, non HDL-C 11.9% versus 14.3%, TG 2.4% versus 2.7% and for low HDL-C 2.1% versus 2.3%. The prevalence of low HDL-C increased from 2.1% in non-overweight, through 3.9% in overweight to 5.2% in obese youth and of elevated TG from 1.2% via 4.5% to 6.5% respectively. The number of risk factors is affected by BMI. Significant associations between prehypertension and CVD risk factors were observed in boys and girls for overweight/obesity odds ratios (OR 2.0/2.4), for hypertriglyceridemia (OR 1.9/2.0), for high non HDL-C (OR 1.4/1.4) and for elevated LDL-C (OR 1.3/1.1).

Conclusions: Prehypertension was signifi cantly associated with overweight, obesity and dyslipidemia in 10,841 children and adolescents.

Keywords: Cardiovascular risk factors, prehypertension, urban children and adolescents

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