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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.  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
3.  Comparison of direct and indirect blood pressure measurements in anesthetized dogs. 
The precision and accuracy of an indirect oscillometric blood pressure measurement technique (Dinamap 8100) was assessed in 11 anesthetized Beagle dogs weighing 8 to 11.5 kg. Direct blood pressure measurements were made by catheterization of the lingual artery, and simultaneous indirect measurements were determined by placing a cuff over the median artery (midradial area). Blood pressure measurements at 2 different planes of anesthesia (light and deep) were recorded in triplicate. At a light plane of anesthesia, the Dinamap 8100 underestimated diastolic and mean arterial pressure, and at a deep anesthetic plane overestimated systolic pressure. The indirect technique had good repeatability of systolic pressures. Regression analysis for the 2 techniques showed excellent correlation (r = 0.93). The results indicate that the indirect oscillometric blood pressure measurement technique provides a good estimate of systolic, diastolic, and mean arterial pressure in dogs weighing 8-11.5 kg.
PMCID: PMC1263773  PMID: 8521360
4.  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
5.  Migration and geographic variations in blood pressure in Britain. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1990;300(6720):291-295.
OBJECTIVE--To evaluate the relative contributions of factors acting at different stages in life to regional differences in adult blood pressure. DESIGN--Prospective cohort study (British regional heart study). SETTING--One general practice in each of 24 towns in Britain. SUBJECTS--7735 Men aged 40-59 years when screened in 1978-80 whose geographic zone of birth and zone of examination were classified as south of England, midlands and Wales, north of England, and Scotland. Non-migrants (n = 3144) were born in the town where they were examined; internal migrants (n = 4147) were born in Great Britain but not in the town where they were examined; and international migrants (n = 422) were born outside Great Britain. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Systolic and diastolic blood pressures and height. RESULTS--Regardless of where they were born, men living in the south of England had lower mean blood pressures than men living in Scotland (142.5/80.1 v 148.1/85.2 mm Hg). The effects of the place of birth and place of examination on adult blood pressure were examined in a multiple regression model. For internal migrants the modelled increase in mean systolic blood pressure across adjacent zones of examination was 2.1 mm Hg (95% confidence interval 1.3 to 2.9); for adjacent zones of birth the corresponding increase was 0.1 mm Hg (-0.7 to 0.7). The place of examination seemed to be a far more important determinant of mean adult blood pressure than the place of birth. Height is an accepted marker of genetic and early life influences. Regional differences in height were therefore analysed to test whether the multiple regression model could correctly distinguish between the influence of place of birth and place of examination. As expected, men born in Scotland were shorter on average than men born in the south of England irrespective of where they lived in Britain (172.6 cm v 175.1 cm for internal migrants). CONCLUSION--Regional variations in blood pressure were strongly influenced by where the men had lived for most of their adult lives rather than by where they were born and brought up. Among middle aged men, factors acting in adult life seemed to be more important determinants of regional differences in blood pressure than those acting early in life such as genetic inheritance, intrauterine environment, and childhood experience.
PMCID: PMC1661953  PMID: 2106957
6.  Prevalence and Predictors of Vitamin D Insufficiency in Children: A Great Britain Population Based Study 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e22179.
To evaluate the prevalence and predictors of vitamin D insufficiency (VDI) in children In Great Britain.
A nationally representative cross-sectional study survey of children (1102) aged 4–18 years (999 white, 570 male) living in private households (January 1997–1998). Interventions provided information about dietary habits, physical activity, socio-demographics, and blood sample. Outcome measures were vitamin D insufficiency (<50 nmol/L).
Vitamin D levels (mean = 62.1 nmol/L, 95%CI 60.4–63.7) were insufficient in 35%, and decreased with age in both sexes (p<0.001). Young People living between 53–59 degrees latitude had lower levels (compared with 50–53 degrees, p = 0.045). Dietary intake and gender had no effect on vitamin D status. A logistic regression model showed increased risk of VDI in the following: adolescents (14–18 years old), odds ratio (OR) = 3.6 (95%CI 1.8–7.2) compared with younger children (4–8 years); non white children (OR = 37 [95%CI 15–90]); blood levels taken December-May (OR = 6.5 [95%CI 4.3–10.1]); on income support (OR = 2.2 [95%CI 1.3–3.9]); not taking vitamin D supplementation (OR = 3.7 [95%CI 1.4–9.8]); being overweight (OR 1.6 [95%CI 1.0–2.5]); <1/2 hour outdoor exercise/day/week (OR = 1.5 [95%CI 1.0–2.3]); watched >2.5 hours of TV/day/week (OR = 1.6[95%CI 1.0–2.4]).
We confirm a previously under-recognised risk of VDI in adolescents. The marked higher risk for VDI in non-white children suggests they should be targeted in any preventative strategies. The association of higher risk of VDI among children who exercised less outdoors, watched more TV and were overweight highlights potentially modifiable risk factors. Clearer guidelines and an increased awareness especially in adolescents are needed, as there are no recommendations for vitamin D supplementation in older children.
PMCID: PMC3142132  PMID: 21799790
7.  Impact of Diastolic and Systolic Blood Pressure on Mortality: Implications for the Definition of “Normal” 
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute currently defines a blood pressure under 120/80 as “normal.”
To examine the independent effects of diastolic (DBP) and systolic blood pressure (SBP) on mortality and to estimate the number of Americans affected by accounting for these effects in the definition of “normal.”
Data on adults (age 25–75) collected in the early 1970s in the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were linked to vital status data through 1992 (N = 13,792) to model the relationship between blood pressure and mortality rate adjusting for age, sex, race, smoking status, BMI, cholesterol, education and income. To estimate the number of Americans in each blood pressure category, nationally representative data collected in the early 1960s (as a proxy for the underlying distribution of untreated blood pressure) were combined with 2008 population estimates from the US Census.
The mortality rate for individuals over age 50 began to increase in a stepwise fashion with increasing DBP levels of over 90. However, adjusting for SBP made the relationship disappear. For individuals over 50, the mortality rate began to significantly increase at a SBP ≥140 independent of DBP. In individuals ≤50 years of age, the situation was reversed; DBP was the more important predictor of mortality. Using these data to redefine a normal blood pressure as one that does not confer an increased mortality risk would reduce the number of American adults currently labeled as abnormal by about 100 million.
DBP provides relatively little independent mortality risk information in adults over 50, but is an important predictor of mortality in younger adults. Conversely, SBP is more important in older adults than in younger adults. Accounting for these relationships in the definition of normal would avoid unnecessarily labeling millions of Americans as abnormal.
PMCID: PMC3138604  PMID: 21404131
blood pressure; hypertension; guidelines; mortality
8.  Trends in the prevalence and treatment of hypertension in Halifax County from 1985 to 1995 
BACKGROUND: The objective of this study was to document changes in the prevalence and treatment of hypertension in Halifax County from 1985 to 1995 in an effort to observe, at the population level, the consequences of the availability of new antihypertensive medications. METHODS: The study population comprised a random sample of Halifax County residents, aged 25-64 years, who responded to the 1985 and 1995 surveys of the Halifax County MONICA Project and residents who responded to the Nova Scotia Health Survey conducted in 1995. Data from the two 1995 surveys were pooled. Information on hypertension awareness and use of medication were obtained through questionnaires, and blood pressure was measured according to a standard protocol, using phase I and V of Korotkoff sounds as respective markers for systolic and diastolic pressures. Uncontrolled hypertension was defined as a systolic pressure of 140 mm Hg or greater and a diastolic pressure of 90 mm Hg or greater. Changes in the prevalence of hypertension, prescribing trends and medication costs were examined, and the association between the type of antihypertensive treatment and characteristics of the respondents with self-reported hypertension was investigated by multivariate logistic regression. RESULTS: Of the 917 people interviewed in 1985 and the 1338 in 1995, 274 (29.9%) and 356 (26.6%), respectively, reported a history of hypertension. When age was controlled for, the proportion of respondents reporting hypertension did not differ between survey years or between men and women. The proportion of treated respondents who had uncontrolled hypertension increased between 1985 and 1995, from 32.6% to 57.4% among men and from 38.0% to 42.6% among women. An increase was seen in the use of calcium-channel blockers (from 2.1% to 19.7%) and angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors (from 5.2% to 25.4%); the proportion of patients receiving combination therapy or diuretics decreased (from 39.6% to 15.6% and from 31.3% to 17.2% respectively). These changes were associated with an increase in the average daily cost of medication from $0.48 to $0.85 per patient. INTERPRETATION: The shift to new antihypertensive drugs was not associated with improved blood pressure control, but it was associated with an increase in average medication costs per patient. Uncontrolled hypertension remains a public health problem.
PMCID: PMC1230618  PMID: 10513276
9.  Centile charts for birthweight for gestational age for Scottish singleton births 
Centile charts of birthweight for gestational age are used to identify low birthweight babies. The charts currently used in Scotland are based on data from the 1970s and require updating given changes in birthweight and in the measurement of gestational age since then.
Routinely collected data of 100,133 singleton births occurring in Scotland from 1998–2003 were used to construct new centile charts using the LMS method.
Centile charts for birthweight for sex and parity groupings were constructed for singleton birth and compared to existing charts used in Scottish hospitals.
Mean birthweight has been shown to have increased over recent decades. The differences shown between the new and currently used centiles confirm the need for more up-to-date centiles for birthweight for gestational age.
PMCID: PMC2268653  PMID: 18298810
10.  Ambulatory blood pressure in schoolchildren 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  1999;80(6):529-532.
OBJECTIVE—To define the range and variability of ambulatory blood pressure in normal schoolchildren.
DESIGN—Prospective study.
METHODS—Resting blood pressure of 1121 schoolchildren from Newcastle upon Tyne was recorded. An ambulatory blood pressure device, which uses both auscultatory (Korotkoff) and oscillometric methods of blood pressure measurement, was then put in place for 24hours.
RESULTS—The day was divided into three time periods: school, home, and night time. Normal centiles for blood pressure for each of these time periods were obtained and many daytime readings were outside reported normal resting levels. The normal variation of blood pressure was quantified by comparing each of these time periods with the resting readings. Resting systolic blood pressure did not predict 24 hour mean systolic blood pressure.
CONCLUSIONS—The availability of normal ambulatory blood pressure data on the level and variation of blood pressure in children may facilitate the early identification of hypertension in this age group.

PMCID: PMC1717942  PMID: 10332001
11.  Effect of pay for performance on the management and outcomes of hypertension in the United Kingdom: interrupted time series study 
Objective To assess the impact of a pay for performance incentive on quality of care and outcomes among UK patients with hypertension in primary care.
Design Interrupted time series.
Setting The Health Improvement Network (THIN) database, United Kingdom.
Participants 470 725 patients with hypertension diagnosed between January 2000 and August 2007.
Intervention The UK pay for performance incentive (the Quality and Outcomes Framework), which was implemented in April 2004 and included specific targets for general practitioners to show high quality care for patients with hypertension (and other diseases).
Main outcome measures Centiles of systolic and diastolic blood pressures over time, rates of blood pressure monitoring, blood pressure control, and treatment intensity at monthly intervals for baseline (48 months) and 36 months after the implementation of pay for performance. Cumulative incidence of major hypertension related outcomes and all cause mortality for subgroups of newly treated (treatment started six months before pay for performance) and treatment experienced (started treatment in year before January 2001) patients to examine different stages of illness.
Results After accounting for secular trends, no changes in blood pressure monitoring (level change 0.85, 95% confidence interval −3.04 to 4.74, P=0.669 and trend change −0.01, −0.24 to 0.21, P=0.615), control (−1.19, −2.06 to 1.09, P=0.109 and −0.01, −0.06 to 0.03, P=0.569), or treatment intensity (0.67, −1.27 to 2.81, P=0.412 and 0.02, −0.23 to 0.19, P=0.706) were attributable to pay for performance. Pay for performance had no effect on the cumulative incidence of stroke, myocardial infarction, renal failure, heart failure, or all cause mortality in both treatment experienced and newly treated subgroups.
Conclusions Good quality of care for hypertension was stable or improving before pay for performance was introduced. Pay for performance had no discernible effects on processes of care or on hypertension related clinical outcomes. Generous financial incentives, as designed in the UK pay for performance policy, may not be sufficient to improve quality of care and outcomes for hypertension and other common chronic conditions.
PMCID: PMC3026849  PMID: 21266440
12.  Ankle blood pressure measured by automatic oscillotonometry: a comparison with Doppler pressure measurements. 
Oscillotonometry using Dinamap machine was investigated for the measurement of ankle and brachial blood pressures in our vascular practice. It was validated by comparison with intra-arterial pressure measured by transducer. Systolic ankle and brachial pressures in 43 patients were compared using the Dinamap and Doppler techniques, and significant correlation was found. Ankle and brachial systolic, diastolic and mean pressures and ankle/brachial pressure indices for all three pressures were measured in a group of 12 normal subjects supine at rest, and after treadmill exercise, and a range of normal values defined. The main limitation of the Dinamap is its failure to measure pressures below 50mmHg. The Dinamap technique is a noninvasive, simple, reproducible and quick method of measuring ankle and brachial pressures in vascular surgical practice.
PMCID: PMC2498533  PMID: 3426091
13.  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
14.  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
15.  Income related inequalities in self assessed health in Britain: 1979–1995 
Study objective: To measure and decompose income related inequalities in self assessed health in England, Scotland, and Wales, 1979–1995.
Design: The relation between individual health and a non-linear transformation of equivalised income, allowing for sex, age, country, and year effects, was estimated by multiple regression. The share of health attributable to transformed income and the Gini coefficient for transformed income were calculated. Inequality in health was measured by the partial concentration index, which is the product of the Gini coefficient and the share of health attributable to transformed income.
Participants and setting: Representative annual samples of the adult population living in private households in Great Britain 1979–1995. The total analysed sample was 299 968 people.
Main results: Pro-rich health inequality was largest in Wales and smallest in England over the period because the effect of increased income on health was greatest in Wales and least in England. In all three countries, pro-rich health inequality increased throughout the period. In the early 1980s this was primarily attributable to increases in income inequality. Thereafter the increased share of health attributable to income was the principal cause.
Conclusions: Reductions in pro-rich health inequality can be achieved by reducing income inequality, reducing the effect of income on health, or both.
PMCID: PMC1732391  PMID: 12540688
16.  Clinical evaluation of Dinamap 845 automated blood pressure recorder. 
British Heart Journal  1980;43(2):202-205.
The Dinamap 845 blood pressure recorder has been evaluated over a wide range of blood pressure by comparison with the Hawksley random zero sphygmomanometer in 32 subjects, six of whom had a cardiac arrhythmia. Group mean radings for systolic and phase 5 diastolic pressure were almost identical but Dinamap diastolic values were on average significantly lower (mean difference 3.4 mmHg) than phase 4 diastolic readings obtained with the Hawksley machine. Correlations between readings with the two instruments were high but the slopes and intercepts of the regression for systolic but not diastolic pressure were significantly different from unity and zero, respectively. The Dinamap is easy to use, portable, and capable of rejecting some motion artefact. Its major disadvantage is that the systolic blood pressure measurement is limited to a maximum of 210 mmHg, a point not made clear in the manufacturer's literature. Nevertheless, the Dinamap 845 is acceptable for blood pressure determinations in subjects who are normotensive or who have mild hypertension.
PMCID: PMC482263  PMID: 7362713
17.  Oscillometric blood pressure reference values of African full-term neonates in their first days postpartum 
Cardiovascular Journal of Africa  2009;20(6):344-347.
Knowing the normative blood pressure (BP) in a newborn baby is important in order to identify abnormal BP readings. This study was done to determine normative BP values of Nigerian newborns, using the 8100 Dinamap monitor.
Consecutive full-term neonates delivered in a tertiary centre in Nigeria were recruited for the study. The babies’ systolic (SBP), diastolic (DBP) and mean arterial (MAP) blood pressures were measured within the first four days after birth.
A total of 473 babies were recruited for the study. The mean SBP, DBP and MAP readings on day 1 were 66.8 ± 7.7, 38.5 ± 6.3 and 47.9 ± 6.3 mmHg, respectively. The day 1 SBP of babies > 4 kg were significantly higher than those who weighed < 2.5 and 2.5–4 kg (p = 0.01, p = 0.05), respectively.
This study provided current normative SBP, DBP and MAP values for Nigerian neonates. The BP readings compared with their Caucasian counterparts.
PMCID: PMC3721809  PMID: 20024474
18.  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
19.  Body index measurements in 1996-7 compared with 1980 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  2000;82(2):107-112.
OBJECTIVES—To compare the distribution of body mass index (BMI) in a national representative study in The Netherlands in 1996-7 with that from a study in 1980.
METHODS—Cross sectional data on height, weight, and demographics of 14 500 boys and girls of Dutch origin, aged 0-21 years, were collected from 1996 to 1997. BMI references were derived using the LMS method. The 90th, 50th, and 10th BMI centiles of the 1980 study were used as baseline. Association of demographic variables with BMI-SDS was assessed by ANOVA.
RESULTS—BMI age reference charts were constructed. From 3 years of age onwards 14-22% of the children exceeded the 90th centile of 1980, 52-60% the 50th centile, and 92-95% the 10th centile. BMI was related to region, educational level of parents (negatively) and family size (negatively). The −0.9, +1.1, and +2.3 SD lines in 1996-7 corresponded to the adult cut off points of 20, 25,and 30 kg/m2 recommended by the World Health Organisation/European childhood obesity group.
CONCLUSION—BMI age references have increased in the past 17 years. Therefore, strategies to prevent obesity in childhood should be a priority in child public health.

PMCID: PMC1718204  PMID: 10648362
20.  Is fluoride a risk factor for bone cancer? Small area analysis of osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma diagnosed among 0–49-year-olds in Great Britain, 1980–2005 
Background: Artificial fluoridation of drinking water to improve dental health has long been a topic of controversy. Opponents of this public health measure have cited the possibility of bone cancer induction. The study objective was to examine whether increased risk of primary bone cancer was associated with living in areas with higher concentrations of fluoride in drinking water.
Methods: Case data on osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma, diagnosed at ages 0–49 years in Great Britain (GB) (defined here as England, Scotland and Wales) during the period 1980–2005, were obtained from population-based cancer registries. Data on fluoride levels in drinking water in England and Wales were accessed through regional water companies and the Drinking Water Inspectorate. Scottish Water provided data for Scotland. Negative binomial regression was used to examine the relationship between incidence rates and level of fluoride in drinking water at small area level.
Results: The study analysed 2566 osteosarcoma and 1650 Ewing sarcoma cases. There was no evidence of an association between osteosarcoma risk and fluoride in drinking water [relative risk (RR) per one part per million increase in the level of fluoride = 1·001; 90% confidence interval (CI) 0·871, 1·151] and similarly there was no association for Ewing sarcoma (RR = 0·929; 90% CI 0·773, 1·115).
Conclusions: The findings from this study provide no evidence that higher levels of fluoride (whether natural or artificial) in drinking water in GB lead to greater risk of either osteosarcoma or Ewing sarcoma.
PMCID: PMC3937980  PMID: 24425828
Osteosarcoma; Ewing sarcoma; bone cancer; children; young people; artificial fluoridation; fluoride; drinking water; Great Britain; small area analysis
21.  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
22.  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
23.  Transitions to informal care in Great Britain during the 1990s 
Design: Longitudinal analysis of data from the British household panel survey, 1991 to 1998, an annual prospective survey of a nationally representative sample of more than 5000 private households in England, Scotland, and Wales.
Subjects: Over 9000 adults over 16 years interviewed personally in successive waves of the survey, including around 1300 informal carers each year.
Results: One third of co-resident carers and 40% of extra-resident carers start caregiving each year and similar proportions cease to provide care. Five year period rates are at least 75% higher than the one year prevalence estimates. Almost everyone is involved in caregiving at one time or another and over half are likely to provide 20 hours or more care per week at some point in their lives. Recent trends indicate that more adults are becoming heavily involved in providing longer episodes of care. Although the onset of caregiving peaks in late middle and early older age, above average incidences span three decades or more of adult life. Age variations in the start of caring relationships are driven by the changing demands for care within and between generations over the life course. There is no firm evidence that carers increase their involvement in caring activities over the first three years of a caring episode.
Conclusions: The population of carers is constantly changing as some people stop providing care and others take on a caring role or vary their level of involvement. Policy measures responsive to the diversity of caring roles, and geared around key transitions, are likely to be most effective in supporting carers through changing circumstances. Recognition and support for carers who are heavily involved in caring activities from the outset should be a priority.
PMCID: PMC1732211  PMID: 12118048
24.  Is there a north-south divide in social class inequalities in health in Great Britain? Cross sectional study using data from the 2001 census 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2004;328(7447):1043-1045.
Objective To examine individual social class inequalities in self rated general health within and between the constituent countries of Great Britain and the regions of England.
Design Cross sectional study using data from the 2001 national census.
Setting Great Britain.
Participants Adults aged between 25 and 64 in Great Britain and enumerated in the 2001 population census (n = 25.6 million).
Main outcome measures European age standardised rates of self rated general health, for men and women classified by the government social class scheme.
Results In each of the seven social classes, Wales and the North East and North West regions of England had high rates of poor health. There were large social class inequalities in self rated health, with rates of poor health generally increasing from class 1 (higher professional occupations) to class 7 (routine occupations). The size of the health divide varied between regions: the largest rate ratios for routine versus higher professional classes were for Scotland (2.9 for men; 2.8 for women) and London (2.9 for men; 2.4 for women). Women had higher rates of poor health compared to men in the same social class, except in class 6 (semi-routine occupations).
Conclusions A northwest-southeast divide in social class inequalities existed in Great Britain at the start of the 21st century, with each of the seven social classes having higher rates of poor health in Wales, the North East and North West regions of England than elsewhere. The widest health gap between social classes, however, was in Scotland and London, adding another dimension to the policy debate on resource allocation and targets to tackle the health divide.
PMCID: PMC403842  PMID: 15117791
25.  Use of non-orthodox and conventional health care in Great Britain. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1991;302(6770):207-210.
OBJECTIVE--To describe the characteristics of patients using non-orthodox health care and their pattern of use of conventional health care with respect to a particular problem. DESIGN--Postal survey of all 2152 practitioners of acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, naturopathy, and osteopathy identified from 11 national professional association registers. Patients attending a representative sample of 101 responding practitioners completed questionnaires covering demographic characteristics, presenting problems, and use of the health service. SETTING--Practices of practitioners of non-orthodox health care in England, Scotland, and Wales. SUBJECTS--Qualified, non-medical practitioners of non-orthodox health care working in Great Britain and 2473 patients who had attended one of the sampled practitioners in an allocated time period between August 1987 and July 1988. RESULTS--An estimated 1909 practitioners were actively practising one of the study treatments in Great Britain in 1987. Of the estimated 70,600 patients seen by this group of practitioners in an average week, most (78%) were attending with a musculoskeletal problem. Two thirds of the patients were women. Only 2% were aged under 16, but 15% were aged 65 or over. One in three patients had not received previous conventional care for their main problem; 18% were receiving concurrent non-orthodox and conventional care. Twenty two per cent of the patients reported having seen their general practitioner for any reason in the two weeks before the surveyed consultation. CONCLUSIONS--Patients of non-orthodox health care, as provided by this group of practitioners, had not turned their backs on conventional health care. Non-orthodox treatment was sought for a limited range of problems and used most frequently as a supplement to orthodox medicine.
PMCID: PMC1669035  PMID: 1998760

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