High blood pressure in overweight and obese youth: Implications for screening

Corinna Koebnick, Mary Helen Black, Jun Wu, Mayra P. Martinez, Ning Smith, Beatriz Kuizon, David Cuan, Deborah Rohm Young, Jean M. Lawrence, Steven J. Jacobsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


In the absence of evidence-based guidelines for high blood pressure screening in asymptomatic youth, a reasonable strategy is to screen those who are at high risk. The present study aimed to identify optimal body mass index (BMI) thresholds as a marker for high-risk youth to predict hypertension prevalence. In a cross-sectional study, youth aged 6 to 17 years (n=237,248) enrolled in an integrated prepaid health plan in 2007 to 2009 were classified according to their BMI and hypertension status. In moderately and extremely obese youth, the prevalence of hypertension was 3.8% and 9.2%, respectively, compared with 0.9% in normal weight youth. The adjusted prevalence ratios (95% confidence intervals) of hypertension for normal weight, overweight, moderate obesity, and extreme obesity were 1.00 (Reference), 2.27 (2.08-2.47), 4.43 (4.10-4.79), and 10.76 (9.99-11.59), respectively. The prevalence of hypertension was best predicted by a BMI-for-age ≥94th percentile. These results suggest that all obese youth should be screened for hypertension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)793-805
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Clinical Hypertension
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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