Prevalence and Risk Factors of Hypertension in Schoolchildren from Central Thailand: A Cross‑Sectional Study

Lakkana Rerksuppaphol, Sanguansak Rerksuppaphol

Abstract


Background: Hypertension (HTN) among children is a major health issue with mounting prevalence rates. The aim of this research is to assess the prevalence of HTN and its associated risk factors among apparently healthy schoolchildren.

Methods: We conducted a cross‑sectional study of schoolchildren in the academic year 2015 from 38 public primary schools in central Thailand for the prevalence and risk factors of HTN. Apparently healthy children aged 6‑12 years were included. Informed consents were obtained before participation. Hypertension was diagnosed as per the new reference cutoff levels recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Results: A total of 3,870 children with a median age of 9.5 years were included in the final analysis. The prevalence of obesity, overweight, and thinness among children was 15.7%, 13.6% and 5.2%, respectively. The overall prevalence of hypertension in the study population was 26.2%. HTN was significantly more prevalent in boys than girls (summary odds ratio (OR) 1.16 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.01‑1.34]). Overweight and obesity were among the associated risk factors of HTN in the enrolled children with (OR 2.44 [95% CI 1.98‑3.00]) and (OR 7.99 [95% CI 6.58‑9.70]), respectively. Obese children who had central obesity were at greater risk of hypertension (OR 9.16 [95% CI 7.45‑11.27]).

Conclusions: The prevalence of HTN among Thai children is markedly high. Obesity, overweight, and male gender are considerable risk factors of HTN in children. Routine blood pressure measurement and further studies are recommended to investigate the potential risks and to lessen the associated complications.


Keywords


Blood pressure; child; hypertension; risk

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