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Body Fat Distribution and Its Association With Hypertension in a Sample of Mexican Children


Background The association between elevated blood pressure and childhood overweight and obesity has been documented in several studies. However, the linkage of blood pressure with body fat distribution in children is not well established. We investigated the relationship between both central and subcutaneous adiposity with BP in the 95th percentile or higher in Mexican children.

Methods and Results Our study, using a sample of children from the State of Guerrero, Mexico was comprised of 252 children, 124 girls and 128 boys, with an age range of 6 to 13 years. Resting blood pressure was measured in duplicate with an aneroid sphygmomanometer. Hypertension was classified as systolic or diastolic BP in the 95th percentile or higher. Additional measures included weight, height, body mass index, body circumferences, and skinfold thickness. The prevalence of obesity (26.5%) was higher than overweight (15.8%), but the prevalence of hypertension was moderate (4.7%). Both systolic and diastolic blood pressures correlated strongly with age, weight, height, and all measurements of central and subcutaneous adiposity. Interestingly, after being adjusted by age, sex, and body mass index, the BP in the 95th percentile or higher was associated with suprailiac skinfold, third tertile (OR = 11.83, P = 0.023); triceps skinfold, third tertile (OR = 6.02; P = 0.034); and biceps skinfold, third tertile (OR = 4.71; P = 0.038).

Conclusions Our data indicate that the prevalence of hypertension in children is moderate. In addition, the skinfold thickness was a better predictor of hypertension than central adiposity in the sample of children studied.

Key Words
  • hypertension
  • body fat
  • skinfold thickness
  • children

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