Adolescent obesity, change in weight status, and hypertension: Racial/ethnic variations

Shakira F. Suglia, Cari J. Clark, Tiffany L. Gary-Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


We sought to determine whether change in weight status between adolescence and young adulthood was associated with the risk of developing hypertension among adolescents and whether sex and racial/ethnic group differences existed in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The sample was restricted to participants who self-identified as black, Hispanic, or white non-Hispanic (n=8543). Height and weight were measured in adolescence (mean 16 years) and again in adulthood (mean 29 years). We categorized the weight of participants into 4 groups: stayed normal weight; gained weight (normal weight in adolescence and obese in adulthood); lost weight (overweight/obese in adolescence nonobese in adulthood); and chronically overweight/obese. Hypertension was defined as measured systolic blood pressure of at least 140 mm Hg or diastolic blood pressure of at least 90 mm Hg measured in adulthood or use of antihypertensive medications. A higher risk of hypertension was noted for all sex and racial/ethnic groups who became obese in adulthood. Furthermore, those who were chronically overweight/obese were at higher risk of hypertension for all groups, with odds ratios ranging from 2.7 in Hispanic men to 6.5 in Hispanic women. Except for black men, those who lost weight during follow-up had no significant increased risk compared with those who maintained normal weight. Overall, there was an increased risk of hypertension for those who gained weight in adulthood and among those who remained obese from adolescence to young adulthood. These data give further evidence for prevention strategies that begin earlier in life to reduce or delay the onset of chronic disease in young adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)290-295
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • adolescence
  • blood pressure
  • hypertension
  • life course
  • obesity
  • racial/ethnic disparities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Adolescent obesity, change in weight status, and hypertension: Racial/ethnic variations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this