Variation in blood pressure among adolescent schoolchildren in an urban slum of Kolkata, West Bengal

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Abstract

Background

High blood pressure in childhood is a potential risk factor for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. The roots of essential hypertension in adults may be initiated in childhood. This study was conducted to investigate blood pressure profiles of adolescent schoolchildren in the practice field area of the Urban Health Centre, Chetla, Kolkata.

Objectives

This cross-sectional study was carried out to determine the prevalence of hypertension in adolescent schoolchildren, to compare the blood pressure between boys and girls, and to study the association between selected variables and blood pressure.

Materials and methods

The study was conducted among adolescent schoolchildren aged 10–19 years in two randomly selected secondary schools situated in the practice field area of the Urban Health Centre, Chetla, Kolkata. All students aged 10–19 years present on the day of the visit were included in the study; the sample was 129. A predesigned questionnaire was used to carry out the study. Measurements of height, weight, body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure were made using standardised physical instruments following standard operative guidelines. The data were collected and analysed using appropriate statistical methods.

Results

The prevalence of hypertension was found to be 10.1% (11.1% in boys and 8.8% in girls). The prevalence of pre-hypertension was 20.2% (16.7% in boys and 24.6% in girls). Hypertension was found to be significantly associated with physical exercise (p<0.05) and salt intake (p<0.05); BMI was also significantly associated with both systolic blood pressure (p<0.05) and diastolic blood pressure (p<0.05). There was a significant (p<0.05) positive correlation of systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure with BMI (r=0.303, p<0.05; r=0.262, p<0.05), age (r=0.326, p<0.05; r=0.267, p<0.05) and height (r=0.322, p<0.05; r=0.174, p<0.05). There was a negative correlation between hypertension and physical exercise (r=−0.313, p<0.05) and a positive correlation between hypertension and salt intake (r=0.298, p<0.05).

Conclusions

The prevalence of pre-hypertension and hypertension together in adolescents was 30.3%. To avoid the consequences and sequelae of hypertension, prevention should start from childhood by encouraging physical exercise, promoting low salt intake, advising on maintaining normal body weight, and checking up on blood pressure at regular intervals.

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