Is Hypertension With Obesity Affected by Race?

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Both whites and Hispanics experienced a higher risk of hypertension with obesity.
Both whites and Hispanics experienced a higher risk of hypertension with obesity.

HealthDay News — Obese teenagers are at increased risk of hypertension, but the effects of those extra pounds may vary by race and ethnicity, according to a study published online in Pediatrics.

Joshua Samuels, MD, MPH, from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, and colleagues studied a diverse group of 21,062 Houston adolescents who had their blood pressure screened at school.

The researchers found that, overall, 2.7% were diagnosed with hypertension after showing persistently high readings at 3 screenings. Excess weight was linked to a raised risk of hypertension across all racial and ethnic groups. The impact of obesity was most clear among Hispanic and white adolescents: It raised their risk nearly 6-fold and 4-fold, respectively, compared to normal-weight students. Weight-related differences were smaller among black and Asian students. Among black adolescents, 2% of those with a normal weight had hypertension, versus 4.5% of obese adolescents.

"Although an increasing body mass index continues to be strongly predictive of rising hypertension prevalence across all racial and ethnic groups, we have shown that Asian, African-American, Hispanic, and white children exhibit different degrees of synergism between blood pressure and body mass index," the authors write.

Reference

Cheung EL, Bell CS, Samuel JP, et al. Race and obesity in adolescent hypertension [published online April 10, 2017]. Pediatrics. doi: 10.1542/peds.2016.1433

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