High Blood Pressure in Pre-Adolescents and Adolescents in Petrópolis: Prevalence and Correlation with Overweight and Obesity

Abstract Background: Arterial hypertension is a multisystem disease that increases the risk of fatal cardiac events. Objectives: This study aims to determine the prevalence of increased blood pressure levels of pre-adolescents and adolescents and correlate these pressure levels with the presence of overweight or obesity and family history of hypertension. Methods: In an observational, cross-sectional study, a sample of 157 students from the city of Petropolis aged from ten to nineteen was randomly selected. The study included four public schools and one private school. The persons responsible for each student answered a questionnaire on pre-existing conditions, family history of hypertension and previous blood pressure measurements. A thorough physical examination, anthropometric evaluation and two blood pressure readings were taken at intervals of at least ten minutes, on three different occasions, totaling six measurements. Results: Blood pressure levels have shown to be abnormal in 17 (10.8% / IC95% 5.9-15.7) studied individuals. Statistical significance was found between the change in blood pressure and the presence of overweight and obesity (p < 0.001), as well as with the presence of family history of hypertension (p < 0.05). A portion of 32.5% of the subjects had never had their blood pressure measured, and over the twelve months prior to the study, 45.5% of the sample had not measured it either. Conclusions: This study demonstrated that a significant percentage of students in the city of Petrópolis, in the state of Rio de Janeiro, has high blood pressure with a statistically significant correlation with overweight or obesity and a family history of hypertension.