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Extra weight may predict HT in teenaged boys: males at greater risk than females. (Children's Health).

SEATTLE -- Adolescent males who are even modestly overweight are five times more likely to become hypertensive in young adulthood than their normal-weight peers, Alison E. Field, Sc.D., said at the annual meeting of the Society for Adolescent Medicine.

A 10-year study of 314 children aged 815 years showed that boys with a body mass index (BMI) above the 75th percentile were highly likely to continue to gain weight and develop health problems in young adulthood, said Dr. Field of Children's Hospital Boston. The study showed a similar trend for girls; however, fewer girls developed hypertension.

The study defined a BMI between the 75th and 84th percentiles as being the upper limit of healthy A BMI between the 85th and 94th percentiles was considered overweight, and a BMI at or above the 95th percentile was considered obese.

The study showed that adolescent males with a BMI between the 75th and 84th percentiles were three times more likely to become hypertensive in young adulthood than their peers with a BMI below the 50th percentile.

The males with a BMI at or above the 85th percentile were five times more likely than their leaner peers to become hypertensive. Overall, 12% of the males were found to be hypertensive at the young adult follow-up.

"Therefore, efforts should be made to follow children at or above the 50th percentile at yearly physical exams so unhealthy weight gain patterns can be identified and intervened upon early--before they become problematic," Dr. Field said.

The study group included 139 boys and 175 girls who were recruited for the investigation from a neighborhood in East Boston during 1978-1981 and then followed up and assessed again during 1989-1990.

At the follow-up, 55% of the males and 30% of the females were overweight or obese. According to the analysis, children with a BMI between the 50th and 74th percentiles were five times more likely than those below the 50th percentile to become overweight or obese. Those with a BMI between the 75th and 84th were nine times more likely to become overweight or obese.

Among the subjects, the prevalence of obesity and overweight during adolescence was 44% of males and 21% of females. Only 2% of the girls in the study developed hypertension in early adulthood--too few for the investigators to calculate a risk estimate based on adolescent weight, Dr. Field said.

Of the adolescents who were at or above the 75th percentile in BMI, 79% of the males continued to gain weight--enough to put them above the 84th percentile, or unhealthy range. Fifty-nine percent of the females above the 75th percentile in adolescence gained enough weight to put them into the 84th percentile or above in early adulthood.

Moreover, even males who were thin in adolescence showed more of a predilection for gaining unhealthy amounts of weight in early adulthood than did the females. Only 4% of the girls who were below the 50th percentile in adolescence became overweight or obese by follow-up, while 26% of the boys initially below the 50th percentile became overweight or obese.

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Title Annotation:hypertension
Author:Kirn, Timothy F.
Publication:Family Practice News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 15, 2003
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