Trends in High Blood Pressure among United States Adolescents across Body Weight Category between 1988 and 2012

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To examine trends in pre-high blood pressure (BP [HBP]) and HBP among US adolescents by body weight category during 1988-2012.

Study design

We estimated pre-HBP and HBP prevalence among 14 844 participants aged 12-19 years using National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys from 1988-1994, 1999-2002, 2003-2006, and 2007-2012. Pre-HBP and HBP were defined based on age-sex-height-specific BP percentiles. We examined the temporal trends in pre-HBP and HBP across category of body weight (normal weight vs overweight/obese), adjusted for potential explanatory factors, and estimated the number of adolescents with pre-HBP and HBP.


Between 1988 and 2012, the prevalence of HBP decreased and pre-HBP did not change. Among normal weight adolescents, multivariable adjusted pre-HBP prevalence was 11.0% during 1988-2012, and 10.9% during 2007-2012 (P = .923 for trend); adjusted HBP prevalence increased from 1988-1994 (0.9%) to 1999-2002 (2.3%), then declined significantly to 1.4% during 2007-2012 (P = .049). Among overweight/obese adolescents, adjusted pre-HBP prevalence was 17.5% during 1988-2012, and 20.9% during 2007-2012 (P = .323); adjusted HBP prevalence declined significantly from 7.2% during 1988-1994 to 3.2% during 2007-2012 (P = .018). Because of population growth, estimated number of adolescents with pre-HBP or HBP increased, from 4.18 million during 1988-1994 to 5.59 million during 2007-2012.


Between 1988 and 2012, pre-HBP prevalence was consistently higher among overweight/obese adolescent than those of normal weight, and the pattern remain unchanged. HBP prevalence declined significantly, especially among overweight/obese adolescent that are not completely explained by sociodemographic or lifestyle characteristics.

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