Prevalence of prehypertension and hypertension and its risk factors in Iranian school children: a population-based study

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Objective:Because of the incidence of a childhood obesity epidemic and the widespread changes in people's lifestyle, the prevalence of high blood pressure in children is increasing. This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of prehypertension and hypertension and its risk factors in Iranian children.Methods:Using random cluster sampling in urban areas and census in rural areas, a total of 5620 schoolchildren aged 6–12 years living in Shahroud, Northeast of Iran, were studied. The prevalence of hypertension was determined on the basis of the fourth report of the diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of high blood pressure in children and adolescents by age, sex, and place of residence. The factors influencing blood pressure were studied using multivariate regression.Results:The prevalence of prehypertension was 7.44% and the prevalence of hypertension was 6.82%. The relative risk ratio (RRR) of prehypertension was 1.17 for BMI, 1.43 for female sex, and 3.71 for residence in rural areas; in addition, the RRR of hypertension was 1.22 for BMI, 6.64 for residence in rural areas, 1.69 for moderate economic status, and 1.89 for low economic status.Conclusion:The prevalence of prehypertension and hypertension is significant in children and alarming in rural areas and requires urgent intervention. As factors such as high BMI, female sex, residence in rural areas, and moderate and low economic status are associated with increased risk of prehypertension and hypertension, it is recommended to conduct routine care programs at regular intervals in schools to prevent hypertension and its related complications.

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