Sex, Obesity, and Blood Pressure among African American Adolescents: The Jackson Heart KIDS Pilot Study

Marino A. Bruce, Bettina M. Beech, Keith C. Norris, Derek M. Griffith, Mario Sims, Roland J. Thorpe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND This study examined the degree to which sex, weight status, and the presence of hypertension and obesity in parents/grandparents were associated with systolic (SBP) and diastolic (DBP) blood pressure (BP) among African American youth in a pilot offspring study examining obesity-related cardiovascular disease (CVD) risks among adolescents. METHODS Data for this study were drawn from 212 adolescents (mean age 15.2 ± 2.2 years, 50.5% female) participating in the Jackson Heart Kids Pilot Study – an offspring cohort study examining cardiovascular disease risks among descendants of Jackson Heart Study participants. SBP (mean 114.4 ± 11.8 mm Hg) and DBP (mean 66.8 ± 9.0 mm Hg) were the primary outcomes. Weight status (46.1% normal weight, 30.1% overweight, 23.6% obese) was the key independent variable. Other covariates were attempts to lose weight, fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity, and spirituality. results Fully adjusted linear regression models of the total sample produced results indicating that obesity was associated with BP (SBP: β = 7.08, P < 0.01; DBP: β = 8.14, P < 0.001). Sex-stratified analyses indicated that overweight and obesity were associated with SBP (overweight: β = 6.77, P < 0.01; obese: β = 11.65, P < 0.001) and obesity was correlated with DBP (β = 9.86, P < 0.001) among males. For females, overweight was correlated with SBP (β = 4.11, P < 0.05) while obesity was associated with DBP (β = 6.98, P < 0.01). Attempting to lose weight was inversely related to SBP (β = −4.01, P < 0.05) in the full sample and among males (β = −11.94, P < 0.001). Familial presence of hypertension and/or obesity was significantly associated with SBP among adolescent females but not males. CONCLUSIONS The relationship between weight status, familial hypertension and obesity status, and BP among adolescents vary by sex. This study underscores the need for additional research investigating the relationship between individual sex, weight status, BP and familial BP, and obesity status on risk among African American adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)892-898
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Hypertension
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017


  • blood pressure
  • health disparities
  • hypertension
  • lifestyle behaviors
  • pediatric obesity
  • population health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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