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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Minerva Pediatrica 2004 June;56(3):311-6


language: Italian

Hypertension in schoolchildren: research carried out in a Secondary School in Rome and observations on dietary patterns

Menghetti E., D’Addesa D., Censi L., Spagnolo A., Martone D., Cellitti R., Sette S.


Aim. The aim of this research was to evaluate the incidence of hypertension in adolescents by assessing their anthropometric measurements and diet, since recent literature data suggest that 30% of obese adolescents are hypertensive.
Methods. The 293 schoolchildren engaged in the study were aged 11-14 years and 54% were male. They attended a Secondary School in Rome with a middle-high class background.
Blood pressure, heart rate, weight, height, tricipital and subscapular skinfolds and body mass index (BMI) were measured and dietary patterns assessed through 24-h recall. The findings were then statistically evaluated.
Results. The incidence of hypertension was 6.5%, without distinction between sexes. On the basis of the statistical evaluation of the correlations between hypertension and obesity, familial hypertension, weaning with the addition of salt and bottle-feeding from birth, only obesity was found to be statistically significant (p<0.001). Even though the hypertensive adolescents had a high intake of snacks, salt, meat, sausages and cheese in their daily diet, only the excess of proteins was statistically significant (p<0.05). The incidence of obesity (calculated as being 20% over the ideal weight for a given height) was 17.3%. This finding was confirmed by the mean value of the both skinfolds, whereas BMI, for which obesity and overweight were considered together, showed a slight overestimation of this percentage.
Conclusion. A high number of hypertensive adolescents was found, about 1/3 of the obese adolescents examined. This confirms the findings of an extensive study previously carried out by the Group of Hypertension of the Italian Society of Pediatrics. From a nutritional point of view, the excessive intake of proteins of the 19 hypertensive adolescents was found to be statistically significant. However, a more extensive study could probably provide further data on other nutrients which, in this case, were not quite statistically significant.

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