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1.  Blood pressure centiles for Great Britain 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  2006;92(4):298-303.
To produce representative cross‐sectional blood pressure reference centiles for children and young people living in Great Britain.
Analysis of blood pressure data from seven nationally representative surveys: Health Surveys for England 1995–8, Scottish Health Surveys 1995 and 1998, and National Diet & Nutrition Survey 1997.
Blood pressure was measured using the Dinamap 8100 with the same protocol throughout. Weight and height were also measured. Data for 11 364 males and 11 537 females aged 4–23 years were included in the analysis, after excluding 0.3% missing or outlying data. Centiles were derived for systolic, diastolic, mean arterial and pulse pressure using the latent moderated structural (LMS) equations method.
Blood pressure in the two sexes was similar in childhood, rising progressively with age and more rapidly during puberty. Systolic pressure rose faster and was appreciably higher in adult men than in adult women. After adjustment for age, blood pressure was related more to weight than height, the effect being stronger for systolic blood pressure. Pulse pressure peaked at 18 years in males and 16 years in females.
These centiles increase our knowledge of blood pressure norms in contemporary British children and young people. High blood pressure for age should be defined as blood pressure above the 98th centile, and high‐normal blood pressure for age as blood pressure between the 91st and 98th centiles. The centiles identify children and young people with increased blood pressure, and will be of benefit to both clinical practice and research.
PMCID: PMC2083671  PMID: 16905566
2.  How Has the Age-Related Process of Overweight or Obesity Development Changed over Time? Co-ordinated Analyses of Individual Participant Data from Five United Kingdom Birth Cohorts 
PLoS Medicine  2015;12(5):e1001828.
There is a paucity of information on secular trends in the age-related process by which people develop overweight or obesity. Utilizing longitudinal data in the United Kingdom birth cohort studies, we investigated shifts over the past nearly 70 years in the distribution of body mass index (BMI) and development of overweight or obesity across childhood and adulthood.
Methods and Findings
The sample comprised 56,632 participants with 273,843 BMI observations in the 1946 Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development (NSHD; ages 2–64 years), 1958 National Child Development Study (NCDS; 7–50), 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS; 10–42), 1991 Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC; 7–18), or 2001 Millennium Cohort Study (MCS; 3–11). Growth references showed a secular trend toward positive skewing of the BMI distribution at younger ages. During childhood, the 50th centiles for all studies lay in the middle of the International Obesity Task Force normal weight range, but during adulthood, the age when a 50th centile first entered the overweight range (i.e., 25–29.9 kg/m2) decreased across NSHD, NCDS, and BCS from 41 to 33 to 30 years in males and 48 to 44 to 41 years in females. Trajectories of overweight or obesity showed that more recently born cohorts developed greater probabilities of overweight or obesity at younger ages. Overweight or obesity became more probable in NCDS than NSHD in early adulthood, but more probable in BCS than NCDS and NSHD in adolescence, for example. By age 10 years, the estimated probabilities of overweight or obesity in cohorts born after the 1980s were 2–3 times greater than those born before the 1980s (e.g., 0.229 [95% CI 0.219–0.240] in MCS males; 0.071 [0.065–0.078] in NSHD males). It was not possible to (1) model separate trajectories for overweight and obesity, because there were few obesity cases at young ages in the earliest-born cohorts, or (2) consider ethnic minority groups. The end date for analyses was August 2014.
Our results demonstrate how younger generations are likely to accumulate greater exposure to overweight or obesity throughout their lives and, thus, increased risk for chronic health conditions such as coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus. In the absence of effective intervention, overweight and obesity will have severe public health consequences in decades to come.
In a longitudinal analysis, William Johnson and colleagues examine how individual lifetime BMI trajectories among white citizens of the UK have changed from 1946 to 2014.
Editors' Summary
Overweight and obesity are major threats to global health. The global prevalence of obesity (the proportion of the world's population that is obese) has more than doubled since 1980; 13% of the adult population, or 0.6 billion people, are now classified as obese, while an additional 1.3 billion adults are overweight. Both classifications are determined by body mass index (BMI), which is calculated by dividing a person's weight in kilograms by the square of their height in meters. Obese individuals have a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or more, while overweight individuals have a BMI of 25–30 kg/m2. BMI values above 25 kg/m2 increase the risk of developing non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cardiovascular diseases, cancers and diabetes. Each year, NCDs kill 38 million people (including 28 million people in low- and middle-income countries and 9 million people under 60 years of age), thereby accounting for more than 75% of the world's annual deaths.
In the United Kingdom, studies report that roughly one quarter of adults are obese, and a further third or more are overweight. This “obesity epidemic” extends to children; according to the National Child Measurement Programme for England (NCMP), about 9% of 4–5-year-olds and 19% of 10–11-year-olds were obese in 2013. In parallel, the UK has not seen the improvements in child and young adult mortality seen in comparable European states.
Why Was This Study Done?
Cross-sectional surveys in the UK, United States, and elsewhere have documented the obesity epidemic, but longitudinal data—drawn from periodic BMI measurements from individuals over their lifetimes—are needed to clarify the time course, or trajectory, of overweight and obesity. Longitudinal data can answer practical questions important for designing health policy interventions. Is the age at which individuals develop overweight or obesity changing over time? In which individuals are the greatest increases in BMI occurring? The authors leveraged longitudinal data from five birth cohort studies (studies that follow a selected group of individuals born during a short window of time), incepted in 1946, 1958, 1970, 1991, and 2001. These large cohort projects were funded by the UK government for the purpose of providing data for long-term health analyses such as this one; in total, the current study’s included sample comprised 56,632 participants with 273,843 BMI observations from participants aged 2 through 64.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The present study aimed to investigate (1) shifts from the 1940s to the 2000s in the distribution of BMI across age and (2) shifts over the same period in the probability of developing overweight or obesity across age. For each of the five cohorts, subdivided by sex and childhood versus adulthood (thus, a total of 20 datasets), the authors applied statistical models to produce trajectories for each BMI centile (subset that results from dividing the distribution of BMI measurements into 100 groups with equal frequency; here, the 90th centile is the group for which 90% of the relevant population has lower BMI). They then investigated secular trends (long-term, non-periodic variations) at different centiles of the BMI distribution. For example, by comparing the trajectories of the 50th centile for adult males across the five cohorts, the researchers could see how the age at which BMI values reached the obese range varied between eras among this group.
The data revealed that most of the between-cohort, and thus between-era, increases in BMI took place in the highest centiles, indicating that overall gains in BMI mainly comprised very high BMI individuals carrying even more weight. Across the 1946, 1958, and 1970 cohorts, the age at which the 50th centile of adults entered the overweight range decreased from 41 to 33 to 30 years in males and 48 to 44 to 41 years in females. The probabilities of overweight and obesity across adulthood also increased. While children in the 50th BMI centile have remained at normal weight through the decades, the overall childhood probability of developing overweight or obesity has increased 2–3-fold from before to after the 1980s.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings describe the changing pattern of age-related progression of overweight and obesity from early childhood in white citizens of the UK. The findings may not be generalizable because other populations have distinct genetic predispositions, environmental exposures, and access to health care. In addition, the accuracy of the findings may be affected by differences between cohorts in how weight and height (and thus BMI) were measured. Nevertheless, these findings—in particular, the increased risk of overweight and obesity at younger ages—suggest that compared to previous generations, current and future generations will accumulate greater overweight or obesity exposure across their lives, likely resulting in increased risk for NCDs. Further research is now needed to determine whether lifestyle factors in the UK have affected the trajectory of BMI and to discover the extent to which these shifting weight trajectories have contributed to morbidity and mortality.
Additional Information
This list of resources contains links that can be accessed when viewing the PDF on a device or via the online version of the article at The World Health Organization provides information on obesity and non-communicable diseases around the world (in several languages)The UK National Health Service Choices website also provides detailed information about obesity and a link to a personal story about losing weightThe International Obesity Taskforce provides information about the global obesity epidemicThe US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on non-communicable diseases around the world and on overweight and obesity and diabetes (including some information in Spanish)The US Department of Agriculture's website provides a personal healthy eating planThe Weight-control Information Network is an information service provided for the general public and health professionals by the US National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (in English and Spanish)MedlinePlus has links to further information about obesity (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC4437909  PMID: 25993005
3.  About the need to use specific population references in estimating paediatric hypertension: Sardinian blood pressure standards (age 11-14 years) 
Previous Italian paediatric blood pressure (BP) tables overestimated the prevalence of hypertension in adolescents of specific geographic areas, such as Sardinia, an island in the Mediterranean Sea. This is probably due to a not very homogeneous distribution of the subjects studied, most from Middle and Northern Italy, and the long period from the survey.
BPs were repeatedly measured over a period of 3 years in 839 children (52.6% males. Age range: from 11 to 14 years during this period), using a standard mercury sphygmomanometer. For each gender, the specific percentile curves of systolic and diastolic BP were constructed.
Results (corrected by the 50th percentile of height)
Males (11-14 years)
mean systolic BP (50th centile): from 111 to 115 mmHg. Hypertensive systolic BP (> 95th percentile): from 127 to 135 mmHg. Mean diastolic BP (50th centile): from 65 to 69 mmHg. Hypertensive diastolic BP (> 95th percentile): from 78 to 82 mmHg.
Females(11-14 years)
mean systolic BP (50th centile): from 110 to 112 mmHg. Hypertensive systolic BP (> 95th percentile): from 127 to 130 mmHg. Mean diastolic BP (50th centile): from 65 to 67. Hypertensive diastolic BP (> 95th percentile): from 78 to 80 mmHg.
Sardinian BP tables emphasizes the need to integrate the previous standards with more up-to-date and representative reports on Italian children, as periodically performed in the USA, in order to increase the number of subjects to be checked, and to obtain a national coverage better and more completely representative of every geographic area of our country.
PMCID: PMC3275472  PMID: 22233935
4.  Role of blood pressure in development of early retinopathy in adolescents with type 1 diabetes: prospective cohort study 
Objective To examine the relation between blood pressure and the development of early retinopathy in adolescents with childhood onset type 1 diabetes.
Design Prospective cohort study.
Setting Diabetes Complications Assessment Service at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, Australia.
Participants 1869 patients with type 1 diabetes (54% female) screened for retinopathy with baseline median age 13.4 (interquartile range 12.0-15.2) years, duration 4.9 (3.1-7.0) years, and albumin excretion rate of 4.4 (3.1-6.8) μg/min plus a subgroup of 1093 patients retinopathy-free at baseline and followed for a median 4.1 (2.4-6.6) years.
Main outcome measures Early background retinopathy; blood pressure.
Results Overall, retinopathy developed in 673 (36%) participants at any time point. In the retinopathy-free group, higher systolic blood pressure (odds ratio 1.01, 95% confidence interval 1.003 to 1.02) and diastolic blood pressure (1.01, 1.002 to 1.03) were predictors of retinopathy, after adjustment for albumin excretion rate (1.27, 1.13 to 1.42), haemoglobin A1c (1.08, 1.02 to 1.15), duration of diabetes (1.16, 1.13 to 1.19), age (1.13, 1.08 to 1.17), and height (0.98, 0.97 to 0.99). In a subgroup of 1025 patients with albumin excretion rate below 7.5 μg/min, the cumulative risk of retinopathy at 10 years’ duration of diabetes was higher for those with systolic blood pressure on or above the 90th centile compared with those below the 90th centile (58% v 35%, P=0.03). The risk was also higher for patients with diastolic blood pressure on or above the 90th centile compared with those below the 90th centile (57% v 35%, P=0.005).
Conclusions Both systolic and diastolic blood pressure are predictors of retinopathy and increase the probability of early retinopathy independently of incipient nephropathy in young patients with type 1 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC2526183  PMID: 18728082
5.  Central overweight and obesity in British youth aged 11-16 years: cross sectional surveys of waist circumference 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2003;326(7390):624.
To compare changes over time in waist circumference (a measure of central fatness) and body mass index (a measure of overall obesity) in British youth.
Representative cross sectional surveys in 1977, 1987, and 1997.
Great Britain.
Young people aged 11-16 years surveyed in 1977 (boys) and 1987 (girls) for the British Standards Institute (n=3784) and in 1997 (both sexes) for the national diet and nutrition survey (n=776).
Main outcome measures
Waist circumference, expressed as a standard deviation score using the first survey as reference, and body mass index (weight(kg)/height(m)2), expressed as a standard deviation score against the British 1990 revised reference. Overweight and obesity were defined as the measurement exceeding the 91st and 98th centile, respectively.
Waist circumference increased sharply over the period between surveys (mean increases for boys and girls, 6.9 and 6.2 cm, or 0.84 and 1.02 SD score units, P<0.0001). In centile terms, waist circumference increased more in girls than in boys. Increases in body mass index were smaller and similar by sex (means 1.5 and 1.6, or 0.47 and 0.53 SD score units, P<0.0001). Waist circumference in 1997 exceeded the 91st centile in 28% (n=110) of boys and 38% (n=147) of girls (against 9% for both sexes in 1977-87, P<0.0001), whereas 14% (n=54) and 17% (n=68), respectively, exceeded the 98th centile (3% in 1977-87, P<0.0001). The corresponding rates for body mass index in 1997 were 21% (n=80) of boys and 17% (n=67) of girls exceeding the 91st centile (8% and 6% in 1977-87) and 10% (n=39) and 8% (n=32) exceeding the 98th centile (3% and 2% in 1977-87).
Trends in waist circumference during the past 10-20 years have greatly exceeded those in body mass index, particularly in girls, showing that body mass index is a poor proxy for central fatness. Body mass index has therefore systematically underestimated the prevalence of obesity in young people.
What is already known on this topicThe prevalence of overweight and obesity in youth based on body mass index has increased over the past 10-20 yearsBody mass index gives no indication of body fat distributionWaist circumference is a marker for central body fat accumulation; a large waist circumference is linked to an increased risk of metabolic complicationsWhat this study addsWaist circumference in British youth has increased over the past 10-20 years at a greater rate than body mass index, the increase being greatest in femalesThe accumulation of central body fat has risen more steeply than whole body fatness based on height and weightCurrent and future morbidity in British youth may be seriously affected due to accumulation of excess central fat
PMCID: PMC151972  PMID: 12649234
6.  The potential effect of the UK 1990 height centile charts on community growth surveillance. 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  1996;74(5):452-454.
The UK 1990 height charts are derived from an up to date dataset and introduce a change in the centile lines, particularly the addition of the 0.4th centile. This study examined the likely impact of these changes. Height data from London school children (1990-1993) were examined using Tanner and Whitehouse (TW) and UK 1990 charts. Numbers of children with height below TW 3rd centile were compared with numbers below the UK 1990 3rd and 0.4th centiles. The TW charts identified only 1% of children below the TW 3rd centile, while the UK 1990 charts identified 3% below the 3rd and 0.4% below the 0.4th centiles. If the 3rd centile remains as the referral 'cut off' for short stature, the introduction of the UK 1990 charts would increase current workload two- to three-fold, while a change to the 0.4th centile would reduce it by 50%. A significant number of children with abnormalities may be excluded from further assessment as a result of this latter change. In this small scale community study it is not possible to assess the consequences of this change. The heights at diagnosis of children with growth hormone (GH) deficiency (peak GH < 20 mU/l during a standard provocation test) were therefore compared to the 0.4th centile (UK 1990 charts). Sixty eight children with heights < 2nd centile (UK 1990 charts) currently receiving GH replacement (17 female, 51 male, aged 9.7, SD 3.5, years) were assessed, and of these, 28 (41%) had heights at diagnosis between 0.4th and 2nd centile, with a mean height standard deviation score of -2.32 (SD 0.21). This suggests that if the 0.4th centile were to be used as the sole criterion for referral for slow growth, a significant proportion of children with abnormality would not be referred for further assessment. The UK 1990 2nd centile should replace the TW 3rd centile. Children below this should undergo an intermediary medical assessment to confirm height measurement, to exclude from referral children with mild familial short stature and to identify concerns regarding the child.
PMCID: PMC1511551  PMID: 8669965
7.  By how much does dietary salt reduction lower blood pressure? I--Analysis of observational data among populations. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1991;302(6780):811-815.
OBJECTIVE--To estimate the quantitative relation between blood pressure and sodium intake. DESIGN--Data were analysed from published reports of blood pressure and sodium intake for 24 different communities (47 000 people) throughout the world. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE--Difference in blood pressure for a 100 mmol/24 h difference in sodium intake. Allowance was made for differences in blood pressure between economically developed and undeveloped communities to minimise overestimation of the association through confounding with other determinants of blood pressure. RESULTS--Blood pressure was higher on average in the developed communities, but the association with sodium intake was similar in both types of community. A difference in sodium intake of 100 mmol/24 h was associated with an average difference in systolic blood pressure that ranged from 5 mm Hg at age 15-19 years to 10 mm Hg at age 60-69. The differences in diastolic blood pressure were about half as great. The standard deviation of blood pressure increased with sodium intake implying that the association of blood pressure with sodium intake in individuals was related to the initial blood pressure--the higher the blood pressure the greater the expected reduction in blood pressure for the same reduction in sodium intake. For example, at age 60-69 the estimated systolic blood pressure reduction in response to a 100 mmol/24 h reduction in sodium intake was on average 10 mm Hg but varied from 6 mm Hg for those on the fifth blood pressure centile to 15 mm Hg for those on the 95th centile. CONCLUSIONS--The association of blood pressure with sodium intake is substantially larger than is generally appreciated and increases with age and initial blood pressure.
PMCID: PMC1669164  PMID: 2025703
8.  Blood pressure and smoking: observations on a national cohort. 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  1995;73(4):294-297.
The reasons why adult smokers have lower blood pressure than non-smokers have not been determined. It is possible that low blood pressure might precede the onset of smoking. This study investigates this hypothesis in a national cohort study in Britain. Blood pressures and pulse rates taken on a sample of 5019 members of the British Birth Cohort Study (BCS 70) at the age of 10 years were analysed in relation to self reported smoking behaviour at age 16+ years. Prospectively, those children who had lower diastolic blood pressure or pulse rate at age 10 were more likely to have smoked by age 16+ years. Using analysis of variance, pulse rate was significantly related to smoking in young men (p < 0.001). Seventy per cent of those with lower pulse (below the 10th centile), 58% with medium pulse, and 52% with the higher pulse (above the 90th centile) had ever smoked by age 16+ years. In young women, pulse rate (p = 0.003), diastolic pressure (p = 0.024), and systolic pressure (p = 0.032) at age 10 were all significantly related to smoking at age 16. This longitudinal study found that lower blood pressure and slower pulse rate were related to the onset of smoking in children. More research is needed on this new observation.
PMCID: PMC1511342  PMID: 7492191
9.  Extending World Health Organization weight-for-age reference curves to older children 
BMC Pediatrics  2014;14:32.
For ages 5–19 years, the World Health Organization (WHO) publishes reference charts based on ‘core data’ from the US National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), collected from 1963–75 on 22,917 US children. To promote the use of body mass index in older children, weight-for-age was omitted after age 10. Health providers have subsequently expressed concerns about this omission and the selection of centiles. We therefore sought to extend weight-for-age reference curves from 10 to 19 years by applying WHO exclusion criteria and curve fitting methods to the core NCHS data and to revise the choice of displayed centiles.
WHO analysts first excluded ~ 3% of their reference population in order to achieve a “non-obese sample with equal height”. Based on these exclusion criteria, 314 girls and 304 boys were first omitted for ‘unhealthy’ weights-for-height. By applying WHO global deviance and information criteria, optimal Box-Cox power exponential models were used to fit smoothed weight-for-age centiles. Bootstrap resampling was used to assess the precision of centile estimates. For all charts, additional centiles were included in the healthy range (3 to 97%), and the more extreme WHO centiles 0.1 and 99.9% were dropped.
In addition to weight-for-age beyond 10 years, our charts provide more granularity in the centiles in the healthy range −2 to +2 SD (3–97%). For both weight and BMI, the bootstrap confidence intervals for the 99.9th centile were at least an order of magnitude wider than the corresponding 50th centile values.
These charts complement existing WHO charts by allowing weight-for-age to be plotted concurrently with height in older children. All modifications followed strict WHO methodology and utilized the same core data from the US NCHS. The additional centiles permit a more precise assessment of normal growth and earlier detection of aberrant growth as it crosses centiles. Elimination of extreme centiles reduces the risk of misclassification. A complete set of charts is available at the CPEG web site (
PMCID: PMC3922078  PMID: 24490896
Growth; Growth charts; Anthropometry; Pediatrics; Child
10.  A controlled study of eight months of physical training and reduction of blood pressure in children: the Odense schoolchild study. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1991;303(6804):682-685.
OBJECTIVE--To examine the effect of physical training on physical fitness and blood pressure in children aged 9-11 years. DESIGN--Prospective randomised controlled intervention study of a sample of children drawn from a population survey of coronary risk factors in children. SETTING--Odense, Denmark. SUBJECTS--69 children with mean blood pressure greater than or equal to 95th centile (hypertensive group) and 68 with mean blood pressure less than 95th centile (normotensive group), randomly selected from a population of 1369 children. INTERVENTION--67 children were randomised to receive three extra lessons a week of an ordinary school physical education programme for eight months. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Physical fitness assessed by calculation of maximum oxygen uptake and blood pressure recorded by one unblinded observer. RESULTS--After three months neither blood pressure nor physical fitness had changed significantly. After adjustment for values in weight, height, heart rate, and the variable in question before training physical fitness rose significantly at the end of eight months' training, by 3.7 mlO2/kg/min (95% confidence interval 2.2 to 5.3) in the normotensive training subgroup and by 2.1 mlO2/kg/min (0.1 to 4.2) in the hypertensive training subgroup compared with that in the controls. Systolic and diastolic blood pressures in the training subgroups fell significantly by 6.5 mm Hg (3.2 to 9.9) and 4.1 mm Hg (1.7 to 6.6) respectively in the normotensive group and by 4.9 mm Hg (0.7 to 9.2) and 3.8 mm Hg (0.9 to 6.6) respectively in the hypertensive group. CONCLUSIONS--Physical training lowers blood pressure and improves physical fitness in children and might have implications for an important non-pharmacological approach to primary prevention of essential hypertension.
PMCID: PMC1670972  PMID: 1912915
11.  Correlates of blood pressure in 15 year olds in the west of Scotland. 
STUDY OBJECTIVE--The aim was to examine social and physical correlates of blood pressure in 15 year olds. DESIGN--This was the first, baseline, sweep of a longitudinal survey of 15 year olds based on a two stage stratified clustered random sample. SETTING--The Central Clydeside Conurbation, in the West of Scotland. In 1981 this had a population of 1.7 million and a standardised mortality ratio (relative to Scotland as a whole) of 109. SUBJECTS--A random sample of households containing 15 year olds were approached by Strathclyde Regional Council; 70% agreed to have their names passed on to the MRC (15% refused, 10% could not be contacted, and 5% had moved). Of these 1177, 11% refused to participate, 3% were not contactable/had moved, and 4% did not provide full data. Complete blood pressure data are available for 959 15 year olds (464 males and 495 females). MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS--Blood pressure, pulse rate, height, weight, and room temperature were measured by nurses in the subjects' homes. Smoking, drinking, and frequency of vigorous exercise were self reported. Maternal height, birthweight, occupation of head of household, and housing tenure were reported by parents. After controlling for the other variables, systolic blood pressure was significantly associated with weight, pulse rate, and room temperature in males and with weight, pulse rate, housing tenure, smoking, and exercise in females. Diastolic blood pressure was associated with room temperature in males and with mother's height, pulse rate, and housing tenure in females. Controlling for current weight, birthweight was inversely related to systolic blood pressure in males and positively associated in females, though in neither case were these associations statistically significant. CONCLUSIONS--In males, blood pressure was mainly related to anthropometric factors whereas in females it was additionally related to socioeconomic and behavioural variables. Although not reaching significance, the weight standardised relationship between birthweight and systolic blood pressure was consistent for males, but not females, with those reported by recent British studies of children and adults. The longitudinal design of this study will allow us to examine correlates of blood pressure in the same individuals as they reach social and physical maturity.
PMCID: PMC1060732  PMID: 2072074
12.  Association of low blood pressure with anxiety and depression: the Nord‐Trøndelag Health Study 
Low blood pressure has mainly been regarded as ideal, but recent studies have indicated an association with depression in elderly people.
To investigate whether low blood pressure is associated with anxiety and depression in the general population.
Cross‐sectional study.
Participants in the population‐based Nord‐Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT‐2, 1995–7), Norway.
60 799 men and women aged 20–89 years filled in the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale as part of a general health study. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure was classified in age‐stratified and sex‐stratified centile groups.
Main results
Compared with participants with systolic blood pressure within the 41–60 centile (reference) group, the odds ratio for anxiety was 1.31 (95% confidence intervals (CI) 1.16 to 1.49), for depression 1.22 (95% CI 1.03 to 1.46), and for comorbid anxiety and depression 1.44 (95% CI 1.24 to 1.68) in the group with ⩽5 centile systolic blood pressure. Slightly weaker associations were found of low diastolic blood pressure with anxiety and depression. These associations were similar across sex and age groups. Physical impairment, smoking and angina pectoris influenced the associations only marginally, whereas stroke, myocardial infarction, use of drugs for hypertension, body mass index and several other covariates had no influence.
This study represents epidemiological evidence for an association of low blood pressure with anxiety and depression, which is not caused by cardiovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC2465598  PMID: 17183016
13.  Blood pressure standards for Saudi children and adolescents 
Annals of Saudi Medicine  2009;29(3):173-178.
Blood pressure levels may vary in children because of genetic, ethnic and socioeconomic factors. To date, there have been no large national studies in Saudi Arabia on blood pressure in children. Therefore, we sought to establish representative blood pressure reference centiles for Saudi Arabian children and adolescents.
We selected a sample of children and adolescents aged from birth to 18 years by multi-stage probability sampling of the Saudi population. The selected sample represented Saudi children from the whole country. Data were collected through a house-to-house survey of all selected households in all 13 regions in the country. Data were analyzed to study the distribution pattern of systolic (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) and to develop reference values. The 90th percentile of SBP and DBP values for each age were compared with values from a Turkish and an American study.
A total of 16 226 Saudi children and adolescents from birth to 18 years were studied. Blood pressure rose steadily with age in both boys and girls. The average annual increase in SBP was 1.66 mm Hg for boys and 1.44 mm Hg for girls. The average annual increase in DBP was 0.83 mm Hg for boys and 0.77 mm Hg for girls. DBP rose sharply in boys at the age of 18 years. Values for the 90th percentile of both SBP and DBP varied in Saudi children from their Turkish and American counterparts for all age groups.
Blood pressure values in this study differed from those from other studies in developing countries and in the United States, indicating that comparison across studies is difficult and from that every population should use their own normal standards to define measured blood pressure levels in children.
PMCID: PMC2813655  PMID: 19448364
14.  Blood Pressure Standards for Shiraz (Southern Iran) School Children in Relation to Height 
Iranian Journal of Pediatrics  2012;22(2):223-230.
This study aims at providing local reference values for blood pressure by height and determining distribution pattern of systolic and diastolic blood pressure in 6.5-11.5 elementary school children for the first time in Shiraz (Southern Iran).
Height, systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) were measured with standard methods in 2270 healthy school children (1174 boys, 1096 girls) who were selected by multi-stage random sampling in 2003-2004 academic years. We produced blood pressure percentiles by height percentiles using Healy-Rasbash-Yang method.
The blood pressure (both systolic and diastolic) tends to increase with age, but after adjusting the measurements for height no significant correlation was found between either systolic blood pressure or diastolic blood pressure and age (r=-0.03 and P=0.15 for systolic blood pressure, r=-0.005 and P=0.8 for diastolic blood pressure). Then systolic and diastolic blood pressure percentile values by age and height percentiles, and blood pressure smoothed centiles by height in 6.5-11.5 years school children were derived.
Due to genetic, cultural and environmental differences among populations, it is suggested to use local blood pressure standards in Iran. We produced blood pressure percentiles by height instead of age because it seems that it would lead to better evaluation for real hypertensive diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC3446070  PMID: 23056890
Blood pressure; Height; Age; Children; Local Reference Value; Percentile
15.  Factors related to total cholesterol and blood pressure in British 9 year olds. 
STUDY OBJECTIVE: To assess which factors are associated with total cholesterol concentration and blood pressure in 9 year olds, and to examine the extent to which a report of a heart attack in a close relative identifies children with a high total cholesterol value or high systolic blood pressure. DESIGN: This was a cross sectional study. SETTING: The analysis was based on 22 study areas from a representative English sample, 14 areas from a representative Scottish sample, and 20 areas from an inner city sample. PARTICIPANTS: There were 1987 children aged 8 or 9 whose blood pressure was measured and 1662 children whose total cholesterol was assessed. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Blood pressure was measured using the Dinamap 1846 automated sphygmomanometer and cholesterol using the Lipotrend C. Multiple regression analysis was used to examine the independent associations with each of the outcome variables. Either weight for height or sum of skinfolds measured in four sites was highly associated with the outcome measures in the study (p < 0.001). Fatter or overweight children had higher blood pressure and higher cholesterol concentrations. Child's height was also associated with the outcome measures in most of the analyses, but was positively related to blood pressure and negatively associated with cholesterol value. There was an association between diastolic blood pressure and area of residence as represented by the regional health authority (RHA), but the association was not the same as the association reported between coronary heart disease, standardised mortality ratio, and RHA. Children with low birth weight and those with shorter gestation had higher systolic blood pressure (p < 0.05 and p < 0.01 respectively), but not diastolic blood pressure. A report of a premature heart attack in a parent or a grandparent was not associated with higher cholesterol or blood pressure. CONCLUSIONS: Reducing obesity in children, together with the avoidance of smoking, may be an appropriate action to prevent coronary heart disease in adulthood. A report of heart disease in a close relative is an ineffective means of identifying children at greater risk of high cholesterol or blood pressure without other measurements from relatives.
PMCID: PMC1060341  PMID: 8944856
16.  Growth and very low birth weight. 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  1989;64(3):379-382.
Information on the likelihood of catch up growth in poorly grown very low birthweight children is sparse. The centiles for weight, height, and head circumference were recorded at both 2 and 5 years of age for 135 very low birthweight children and 42 normal birthweight children. At both ages significantly more children of very low birth weight were under the 10th centile for weight and height. Children of birth weight under 1000 g were more often under the 10th centile for weight at 5 years compared with those of birth weight 1000-1500 g. Mean incremental weight gain between 2 and 5 years was significantly less for very low birthweight children. Mean increment in weight from 2 to 5 years was less for very low birthweight children who had been under the 10th centile for weight at 2 years; children who had been under the 10th centile for height also had lower mean height increments. The growth centiles achieved by 2 years of age were useful predictors of poor growth at 5 years, with perinatal data of marginal importance. Only six of 43 (14%) children with a weight at 5 years of age under the 10th centile were small for gestational age at birth. Very low birthweight children who had a weight or height under the 10th centile at 2 years of age usually remained in this category at 5 years with no evidence of catch up growth.
PMCID: PMC1791899  PMID: 2705802
17.  Anthropometry and Prevalence of Common Health Problems among School Going Children in Surathkal, Karnataka 
Aims: To measure the anthropometric data of school children and to compare with the CDC and Agarwal centile Growth charts. The prevalence of thinness, stunting, overweight and obesity were estimated. Children were also screened for hypertension, refractory errors, dental problems, skin disease and other abnormalities.
Design: Study was conducted in November in a central school in Surathkal, Dakshina Kannada, Karnataka, India. All children from nursery up to 10th standard were screened.
Materials and Methods: Weight and Height were measured using standard equipment and plotted on CDC and Agarwal Charts. BMI was calculated and plotted on both charts. Blood Pressure (BP) was taken using mercury sphygmomanometer by a trained nurse. Vision was tested using Snellens chart by refractionist. Dental evaluation was done by dentist.
Statistical analysis: Chi-square test and Student’s unpaired t test were used for statistical analysis. A statistical package SPSS version 17.0 were used. p<0.05 was considered as significant.
Results: Total 755 children were screened. Among these 392 (51.9%) were females and 363 (48.1%) were males. Eighty five (11.3%) children had short stature and 283 (37.5%) had under nutrition when plotted on CDC chart. Values were lower when plotted on Agarwal charts. Thinness was more prevalent than obesity and overweight. Majority were normotensive though hypertension was noted in 6(0.8%) children and prehypertension in 14(1.9%).112 children (16.3%) had undetected refractory error. Common skin disease noted was T.Versicolor in 27 children. Common dental problem noted was Caries teeth (22.9%).
Conclusion: Weight and height were below the CDC centile charts. Under nutrition was more prevalent than overweight and obesity. Majority were normotensive. High prevalence of undetected refractory error and caries teeth were noted. Prevalence of skin disease was low.
PMCID: PMC4316303  PMID: 25653997
Dental caries; Obesity; Refractory error; Stunting; Thinness
18.  Population based prevalence of high blood pressure among adults in Addis Ababa: uncovering a silent epidemic 
The prevention and control of high blood pressure or other cardiovascular diseases has not received due attention in many developing countries. This study aims to describe the epidemiology of high blood pressure among adults in Addis Ababa, so as to inform policy and lay the ground for surveillance interventions.
Addis Ababa is the largest urban centre and national capital of Ethiopia, hosting about 25% of the urban population in the country. A probabilistic sample of adult males and females, 25–64 years of age residing in Addis Ababa city participated in structured interviews and physical measurements. We employed a population based, cross sectional survey, using the World Health Organization instrument for stepwise surveillance (STEPS) of chronic disease risk factors. Data on selected socio-demographic characteristics and lifestyle behaviours, including physical activity, as well as physical measurements such as weight, height, waist and hip circumference, and blood pressure were collected through standardized procedures. Multiple linear regression analysis was performed to estimate the coefficient of variability of blood pressure due to selected socio-demographic and behavioural characteristics, and physical measurements.
A total of 3713 adults participated in the study. About 20% of males and 38% of females were overweight (body-mass-index ≥ 25 kg/m2), with 10.8 (9.49, 12.11)% of the females being obese (body-mass-index ≥ 30 kg/m2). Similarly, 17% of the males and 31% of the females were classified as having low level of total physical activity. The age-adjusted prevalence (95% confidence interval) of high blood pressure, defined as systolic blood pressure (SBP) ≥ 140 mmHg (millimetres of mercury) or diastolic blood pressure (DBP) ≥ 90 mmHg or reported use of anti-hypertensive medication, was 31.5% (29.0, 33.9) among males and 28.9% (26.8, 30.9) among females.
High blood pressure is widely prevalent in Addis Ababa and may represent a silent epidemic in this population. Overweight, obesity and physical inactivity are important determinants of high blood pressure. There is an urgent need for strategies and programmes to prevent and control high blood pressure, and promote healthy lifestyle behaviours primarily among the urban populations of Ethiopia.
PMCID: PMC2736927  PMID: 19698178
19.  Understanding trends in blood pressure and their associations with body mass index in Chinese children, from 1985 to 2010: a cross-sectional observational study 
BMJ Open  2015;5(9):e009050.
Understanding trends in blood pressure (BP) in childhood is crucial to addressing and reducing the burden of adulthood hypertension and associated mortality in the future. In view of growing obesity in Chinese children, we sought to investigate the trends in BP and the influence of body mass index (BMI) on them.
Design, setting and participants
We included 1 010 153 children aged 8–17 years, with completed records from a large national successive cross-sectional survey, the Chinese National Survey on Students’ Constitution and Health, between 1985 and 2010.
Main outcome measurements
BP was measured according to the recommendation of the National High Blood Pressure Education Program Working Group, and the elevated BP was based on sex-, age- and height-specific 95th centile of the recommendation.
The adjusted mean systolic BP in boys and girls decreased by 3.9 and 5.6 mm Hg between 1985 and 2005, and increased by 1.3 and 1.0 mm Hg between 2005 and 2010, respectively. Corresponding adjusted prevalence of elevated systolic BP in boys and girls declined from 5.1% and 5.5% to 3.5% and 2.5% between 1985 and 2005, and increased to 4.9% and 3.5% in 2010, respectively. Adjusted mean BMI of boys and girls in 2010 was 2.0 and 1.2 kg/m2 higher than those in 1985, respectively. The prevalence of obesity rose from 0% to 3.4% in boys and 0.9% in girls. Further adjusting for BMI did not change these trends in systolic BP. A similar pattern was also observed in diastolic BP.
After declining for 20 years, BP levels in Chinese children started to climb upwards. These trends in BP cannot be fully explained by BMI. The investigation of other determinants of BP may provide additional opportunity to curb the current upward BP trend in Chinese children.
PMCID: PMC4567663  PMID: 26362667
blood pressure; trends; children; obesity
20.  Reduced final height and indications for insulin resistance in 20 year olds born small for gestational age: regional cohort study. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1997;315(7104):341-347.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether the association between low birth weight and increased risk of developing impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, hypertriglyceridaemia, and hypertension in middle age is apparent by the age of 20 in people born small for gestational age. DESIGN: Regional cohort study. SETTING: Maternity registry, Haguenau, France. SUBJECTS: 236 full term singleton babies born small for gestational age (birth weight or length, or both, below third centile) during 1971-8 and 281 with normal birth weight (between 25th and 75th centile). All subjects were contacted and evaluated at a mean (SD) age of 20.6 (2.1) years. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Adult height; concentrations of glucose, insulin, and proinsulin during an oral glucose tolerance test; lipid and fibrinogen concentrations; and blood pressure. RESULTS: After sex and target height were adjusted for, subjects who had been born small for gestational age were significantly shorter at age 20 than those with a normal birth weight (men 4.5 cm shorter (95% confidence interval 6.0 to 3.0 cm); women 3.94 cm shorter (5.2 to 2.7 cm)). After sex and body mass index were adjusted for, mean plasma glucose concentration 30 minutes after a glucose load, fasting insulin concentration (in women), and insulin and proinsulin concentrations 30 and 120 minutes after a glucose load were significantly higher in subjects who had been born small for gestational age than in those with a normal birth weight. Mean lipid and fibrinogen concentrations and blood pressure were not different between the two groups. CONCLUSIONS: Intrauterine growth retardation has long term consequences such as reduced final height Raised insulin and proinsulin concentrations are present in young adults born small for gestational age and could be markers of early changes in insulin sensitivity.
PMCID: PMC2127259  PMID: 9270455
21.  Cardiovascular risk factors and blood pressure in a primary care unit: Yugoslav Study of the Precursors of Atherosclerosis in School Children (YUSAD) 
The presence of cardiovascular risk factors in children may be important in the development of atherosclerosis in adulthood. Adequate control of blood pressure is a cornerstone in atherosclerosis prevention. The aim of the Yugoslav Study of the Precursors of Atherosclerosis in School Children (YUSAD) was to identify risk factors for elevated blood pressure in school children.
The YUSAD study is a multicentre follow-up study comprised of two cross-sectional surveys conducted five years apart. At baseline, 10-year-old children (3226 boys and 3074 girls [n=6300]) were randomly selected during periodical visits to primary health care centres. The risk factors measured were heart rate, weight, body mass index (BMI), waist-to-hip ratio, grade point average and current smoking status.
Significant age and sex differences were identified in systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure and all investigated independent variables. In a multivariate analysis, diastolic blood pressure in 10-year-old boys was directly and significantly related to total cholesterol and height, whereas it was inversely related to weight. At follow-up, in the multivariate model, only BMI was a significant predictor of diastolic blood pressure in boys. In girls at baseline in the multivariate regression analysis, the only significant predictor of diastolic blood pressure was total cholesterol. In 15-year-old girls, diastolic blood pressure was significantly and directly related to BMI and heart rate, whereas it was inversely related to weight. For both 10- and 15-year-old male and female participants, none of the variables by multivariate analysis were a significant predictor of systolic blood pressure.
Age, sex, heart rate, cholesterol and weight are the most important predictors of blood pressure in school children.
PMCID: PMC2274857  PMID: 18651041
Atherosclerosis; Blood pressure; Cardiovascular risk factors; School children
22.  Reappraisal of the relation between blood lead concentration and blood pressure among the general population in Taiwan 
OBJECTIVES: The relation between blood lead concentration (PbB) and blood pressure was examined in a Taiwan nationwide population survey of PbB from July 1993 to June 1994. METHODS: After multistage sampling procedures, 2800 subjects (1471 males and 1329 females) with a mean (range) age of 44 (15-85) years were enrolled in this study. Anthropometric, blood pressure, and lifestyle factors were measured during household visits. The PbB was measured with a flameless atomic absorption spectrophotometer and all specimens were analysed in triplicate. RESULTS: The mean (range) PbB among all study subjects was 6.5 (0.1-69.1) micrograms/dl; among males it was 7.3 (0.1-69.1) micrograms/dl and among females 5.7 (0.1-40.1) micrograms/dl). The mean (range) systolic blood pressure among all subjects was 123 (80-210) mm Hg, among males it was 127 (80-200) mm Hg and among females 119 (80- 210) mm Hg. The diastolic blood pressure among all subjects was 78 (40- 150) mm Hg; among males it was 80 (40-130) mm Hg; and among females 75 (40-150) mm Hg. Age, body height, body weight, and body mass index (BMI) were significantly correlated with systolic blood pressure or diastolic blood pressure in both sexes. The PbB (or the natural logarithmic transformed PbB) was not significantly correlated with blood pressure among males or females. After adjustment for the potential confounders of age, age2, BMI, milk intake, alcohol consumption, and cigarette smoking, systolic blood pressure was significantly associated with PbB among males with a regression coefficient (beta) of 0.185 (p = 0.015). No significant association between PbB and blood pressure was found among females. CONCLUSIONS: From this study, only a weak association between systolic blood pressure and PbB was found among males. There was no strong evidence that PbB was a good predictor of blood pressure. However, the possibility that long term high body lead burden could cause high blood pressure could not be ruled out on the basis of this survey.
PMCID: PMC1757651  PMID: 10341743
23.  Prevalence of hypertension in children after early repair of coarctation of the aorta: a cohort study using casual and 24 hour blood pressure measurement 
Heart  2002;88(2):163-166.
Objective: To study the prevalence of hypertension in a cohort of patients using the current strategy of repair in early childhood.
Patients: The cohort of patients with coarctation of the aorta born between 1983 and 1992.
Intervention: Casual (mean of three resting readings) and 24 hour blood pressure were measured in 119 children and compared with data from 1034 normal controls. The arch repair and left ventricular parameters were assessed using Doppler echocardiography.
Results: Median ages at first intervention and at blood pressure measurement were 0.2 years (interquartile range 0.04–2.0) and 12.0 years (9.0–14.5), respectively. Doppler velocity in the descending aorta was significantly associated with blood pressure (r = 0.28, p = 0.002 for casual systolic blood pressure (SBP); r = 0.26, p = 0.005 for mean 24 hour SBP). Patients were classified as having “no” (n = 70) or “mild” (n = 49) arch obstruction. Casual SBP was > 95th centile in 28% (34 of 119) overall and in 21% (15 of 70) of the no arch obstruction group. Mean 24 hour SBP was > 95th centile in 30% (36 of 119) overall and in 19% (13 of 70) of the no obstruction group. The sensitivity and specificity of casual SBP in detecting increased 24 hour SBP were 66% and 88%, respectively.
Conclusions: This unique study of a large cohort of patients treated for coarctation in early childhood showed that a disappointingly high prevalence of hypertension is already apparent in children aged 7–16 years in the absence of significant arch obstruction, whether assessed by 24 hour or by casual blood pressure measurement.
PMCID: PMC1767207  PMID: 12117846
blood pressure; coarctation of the aorta; hypertension
24.  Coexistence of social inequalities in undernutrition and obesity in preschool children: population based cross sectional study 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  2003;88(8):671-675.
Aims: To test for the coexistence of social inequalities in undernutrition and obesity in preschool children.
Methods: Retrospective, cross sectional, study of routinely collected data from 74 500 children aged 39–42 months in 1998/99. Main outcome measures were weight, height, sex, and age routinely recorded by health visitors. Body mass index (BMI) standardised for age and sex, relative to UK 1990 reference data, was used to define undernutrition (BMI <2nd centile) and obesity (BMI >95th centile; BMI >98th centile). Social deprivation was assessed as Carstairs deprivation category (1 = most affluent to 7 = most deprived).
Results: Both undernutrition (3.3%) and obesity (8.5% above 95th centile; 4.3% above 98th centile) significantly exceeded expected frequencies from UK 1990 reference data. Undernutrition and obesity were significantly more common in the more deprived families. Odds ratios in deprivation category 7 relative to category 1 were 1.51 (95% CI 1.22 to 1.87) for undernutrition (BMI <2nd centile) and 1.30 (95% CI 1.05 to 1.60) for obesity (BMI >98th centile). The cumulative prevalence of under and overnutrition (malnutrition) in the most deprived group was 9.5% compared to 6.9% in the least deprived group.
Conclusions: Undernutrition and obesity are significantly more common than expected in young children and strongly associated with social deprivation. Both undernutrition and obesity have adverse short and long term health effects. Public health strategies need to tackle malnutrition (both undernutrition and obesity) in children and take into consideration the association with social deprivation.
PMCID: PMC1719615  PMID: 12876159
25.  Arterial distensibility in children and teenagers: normal evolution and the effect of childhood vasculitis 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  2002;87(4):348-351.
Background: Polyarteritis nodosa is a necrotising vasculitis of the medium sized and small muscular arteries. The inflammatory and subsequent reparative processes may alter the arterial mechanical properties. The effect of vasculitic damage on arterial distensibility has never been explored however.
Aim: To determine the normal values and the effect of childhood vasculitis on arterial distensibility in children and teenagers.
Methods: Distensibility of the brachioradial arterial segment was studied using pulse wave velocity (PWV ∝1/√distensibility), in 13 children with polyarteritis nodosa at a median age of 11.8 (range 4.9–16) years. As a control group, 155 healthy schoolchildren (6–18 years, 81 boys) were studied. PWV was assessed using a photoplethysmographic technique; blood pressure was measured by an automatic sphygmomanometer (Dinamap). Data from patients were expressed as z scores adjusted for age and compared to a population mean of 0 by a single sample t test. Determinants of PWV in normal children were assessed by univariate and multivariate linear regression analyses.
Results: Age, height, weight, and systolic blood pressure correlated individually with the brachioradial PWV. Multivariate analysis identified age as the only independent determinant. Ten of the patients were in clinical remission, while three had evidence of disease activity at the time of study. The PWV in the patient group as a whole was significantly greater than those in healthy children (mean z score +0.99). Raised C reactive protein concentration (>2 mg/dl) in the three patients with active disease was associated with a higher PWV when compared to those in remission (z score +2.78 v +0.45). The diastolic blood pressure of the patients was higher than those of the controls (z score +1.04) while the systolic pressure was similar (z score -0.36).
Conclusions: PWV in the brachioradial arterial segment increases gradually during childhood independent of body weight, height, mass, and blood pressure. Increased PWV, and hence decreased distensibility, in this peripheral arterial segment occurs in polyarteritis nodosa and is amplified during acute inflammatory exacerbation.
PMCID: PMC1763025  PMID: 12244018

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