OBJECTIVE: To examine the association of BMI percentile and change in BMI percentile to change in blood pressure (BP) percentile and development of hypertension (HTN). METHODS: This retrospective cohort included 101 606 subjects age 3 to 17 years from 3 health systems across the United States. Height, weight, and BPs were extracted from electronic health records, and BMI and BP percentiles were computed with the appropriate age, gender, and height charts. Mixed linear regression estimated change in BP percentile, and proportional hazards regression was used to estimate risk of incident HTN associated with BMI percentile and change in BMI percentile. RESULTS: The largest increases in BP percentile were observed among children and adolescents who became obese or maintained obesity. Over a median 3.1 years of follow-up, 0.3% of subjects developed HTN. Obese children ages 3 to 11 had twofold increased risk of developing HTN compared with healthy weight children. Obese children and adolescents had a twofold increased risk of developing HTN, and severely obese children had a more than fourfold increased risk. Compared with those who maintained a healthy weight, children and adolescents who became obese or maintained obesity had a more than threefold increased risk of incident HTN. CONCLUSIONS: We observed a strong, statistically significant association between increasing BMI percentile and increases in BP percentile, with risk of incident HTN associated primarily with obesity. The adverse impact of weight gain and obesity in this cohort over a short period underscores the early need for effective strategies for prevention of overweight and obesity.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Screening for hypertension in children occurs during routine care. When blood pressure (BP) is elevated in the hypertensive range, a repeat measurement within 1 to 2 weeks is recommended. The objective was to assess patterns of care after an incident elevated BP, including timing of repeat BP measurement and likelihood of persistently elevated BP. METHODS: This retrospective study was conducted in 3 health care organizations. All children aged 3 through 17 years with an incident elevated BP at an outpatient visit during 2007 through 2010 were identified. Within this group, we assessed the proportion who had a repeat BP measured within 1 month of their incident elevated BP and the proportion who subsequently met the definition of hypertension. Multivariate analyses were used to identify factors associated with follow-up BP within 1 month of initial elevated BP. RESULTS: Among 72 625 children and adolescents in the population, 6108 (8.4%) had an incident elevated BP during the study period. Among 6108 with an incident elevated BP, 20.9% had a repeat BP measured within 1 month. In multivariate analyses, having a follow-up BP within 1 month was not significantly more likely among individuals with obesity or stage 2 systolic elevation. Among 6108 individuals with an incident elevated BP, 84 (1.4%) had a second and third consecutive elevated BP within 12 months. CONCLUSIONS: Whereas >8% of children and adolescents had an incident elevated BP, the great majority of BPs were not repeated within 1 month. However, relatively few individuals subsequently met the definition of hypertension.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the prevalence of prehypertension and hypertension among children receiving well-child care in community-based practices. METHODS: Children aged 3 to 17 years with measurements of height, weight, and blood pressure (BP) obtained at an initial (index) well-child visit between July 2007 and December 2009 were included in this retrospective cohort study across 3 large, integrated health care delivery systems. Index BP classification was based on the Fourth Report on the Diagnosis, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure in Children and Adolescents: normal BP, <90th percentile; prehypertension, 90th to 94th percentile; hypertension, 3 BP measurements ≥95th percentile (index and 2 subsequent consecutive visits). RESULTS: The cohort included 199 513 children (24.3% aged 3–5 years, 34.5% aged 6–11 years, and 41.2% aged 12–17 years) with substantial racial/ethnic diversity (35.9% white, 7.8% black, 17.6% Hispanic, 11.7% Asian/Pacific Islander, and 27.0% other/unknown race). At the index visit, 81.9% of participants were normotensive, 12.7% had prehypertension, and 5.4% had a BP in the hypertension range (≥95th percentile). Of the 10 848 children with an index hypertensive BP level, 3.8% of those with a follow-up BP measurement had confirmed hypertension (estimated 0.3% prevalence). Increasing age and BMI were significantly associated with prehypertension and confirmed hypertension (P < .001 for trend). Among racial/ethnic groups, blacks and Asians had the highest prevalence of hypertension. CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of hypertension in this community-based study is lower than previously reported from school-based studies. With the size and diversity of this cohort, these results suggest the prevalence of hypertension in children may actually be lower than previously reported.