Nav: Home

Obesity in Hispanic adolescents linked to nearly sixfold increase in high blood pressure

April 10, 2017

HOUSTON - (April 10, 2017) - Obesity raises the prevalence of high blood pressure among adolescents but the increase is particularly pronounced among Hispanics compared to white, African-American or Asian ethnic groups, according to a study by researchers at McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). Results were published in the journal Pediatrics.

While increasing body mass index (BMI), a measure of obesity, was associated with increased risk for high blood pressure in all four examined ethnic groups, the prevalence of high blood pressure was almost 6 times higher among obese Hispanic adolescents compared to normal weight Hispanics. Almost 25 percent of the Hispanic adolescents in the study were obese.

Here is what the researchers found when they compared the prevalence of high blood pressure between obese and normal weight adolescents in the other ethnic groups:
  • Obese white adolescents had an approximately fourfold increase;
  • Obese Asian adolescents, though few, had an approximately threefold increase;
  • Obese African-American adolescents had an approximately twofold increase.

"We believe we are the first to compare adolescent blood pressures to body mass index in these four major ethnic/racial groups," said Joshua Samuels, M.D., M.P.H., the study's senior author, a professor in the Department of Pediatrics at McGovern Medical School and an attending pediatric nephrologist at Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital.

While researchers are not sure what is behind the elevated rates for Hispanics, they believe health care providers can use this information to assess more accurately the health risks of Hispanic adolescents. "This is also information parents need to know," he said.

High blood pressure affects about 75 million adults in the United States and contributes to about 1,000 deaths a day. It damages the arteries, which can lead to issues with the kidneys, heart and eyes.

Findings were based on an analysis of 21,062 adolescents participating in a high blood pressure screening program. Tests were conducted at 27 secondary schools in Greater Houston between 2000 and 2015. McGovern Medical School conducted the on-going screenings through the Houston Pediatric and Adolescent Hypertension Program.

Previously, the researchers had established that almost 3 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 19 have sustained high blood pressure and that obesity contributes to high blood pressure.

"The prevalence of high blood pressure among Hispanic adolescents rises sharply with weight gain," Samuels said. "Normal weight Hispanic adolescents had the lowest level of high blood pressure among the four groups but obese Hispanic adolescents had the highest."

For purposes of the study, high blood pressure was defined as having blood pressure at the 95th percentile or higher for three consecutive screenings. Students in the 85th to 94th percentile of BMI were considered overweight and children at the 95th percentile or higher obese.

Samuels said additional studies are needed to gauge the impact of adolescent obesity on other cardiovascular risk factors such as diabetes and obstructive sleep apnea.
-end-
Co-authors in the UTHealth Department of Pediatrics include Cynthia S. Bell, M.S., senior statistician; Joyce Philip Samuel, M.D., M.S., assistant professor; and system analyst Tim Poffenbarger. Co-authors Eric L. Cheung, M.D., and Karen McNiece Redwine, M.D., M.P.H., also contributed to the study.

The study titled "Race and Obesity in Adolescent Hypertension" was supported in part by National Institutes of Health grant (K23-DK065951).

University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Related Obesity Articles:

Should obesity be recognized as a disease?
With obesity now affecting almost a third (29%) of the population in England, and expected to rise to 35% by 2030, should we now recognize it as a disease?
Is obesity associated with risk of pediatric MS?
A single-center study of 453 children in Germany with multiple sclerosis (MS) investigated the association of obesity with pediatric MS risk and with the response of first-line therapy in children with MS.
Women with obesity prior to conception are more likely to have children with obesity
A systematic review and meta-analysis identified significantly increased odds of child obesity when mothers have obesity before conception, according to a study published June 11, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine by Nicola Heslehurst of Newcastle University in the UK, and colleagues.
Obesity medicine association announces major updates to its adult obesity algorithm
The Obesity Medicine Association (OMA) announced the immediate availability of the 2019 OMA Adult Obesity Algorithm, with new information for clinicians including the relationship between Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes Mellitus, Dyslipidemia, and Cancer; information on investigational Anti-Obesity Pharmacotherapy; treatments for Lipodystrophy; and Pharmacokinetics and Obesity.
Systematic review shows risk of a child developing overweight or obesity is more than trebled by maternal obesity prior to pregnancy
New research presented at this year's European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Glasgow, Scotland (April 28- May 1) reveals that the risk of a child becoming overweight or obese is more than trebled by maternal obesity prior to getting pregnant.
More Obesity News and Obesity Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...