Public Health Nutrition

Biological and behavioural determinants

Blood pressure and BMI in adolescents in Aracaju, Brazil

Jorinde Poldermana1, Ricardo Queiroz Gurgela2, José Augusto S Barreto-Filhoa2, Rik Roelofsa1, Ricardo Emanoel de O Ramosa2, Jeroen S de Muntera1, Johannes F Wendtea1 and Charles Agyemanga1 c1

a1 Department of Public Health, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, Meibergdreef 9, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands

a2 Department of Medicine and Post Graduate Nucleus of Medicine, Federal University of Sergipe, Aracaju, Brazil


Objective To assess the prevalence of high blood pressure (BP) and the association of overweight and obesity with high BP among adolescents in Aracaju, Brazil.

Design Cross-sectional study. The main outcome measure was the proportion of adolescents with high BP (sex-, age- and height-specific ≥95th percentile). The main predictor variables were overweight and obesity defined according to the criteria of the International Obesity Task Force. Other covariates included age, socio-economic status and leisure-time physical activity.

Setting Aracaju, Brazil, capital city of Sergipe State, north-eastern Brazil.

Subjects A random sample of 1002 adolescents (442 boys and 560 girls) aged 12–17 years selected from twenty public schools and ten private schools were studied.

Results The prevalence of high BP was 16·9 % (95 % CI 13·1, 21·7) in boys and 12·9 % (95 % CI 9·0, 18·0) in girls. After adjusting for age, socio-economic status and leisure-time physical activity in both boys and girls, overweight (prevalence ratio (PR) = 1·93, 95 % CI 1·08, 3·48; PR = 4·34, 95 % CI 2·58, 7·30, respectively) and obesity (PR = 4·87, 95 % CI 2·35, 10·11; PR = 5·18, 95 % CI 2·67, 10·06, respectively) were found to be associated with high BP.

Conclusions These findings indicate a high prevalence of high BP in both boys and girls in Aracaju, Brazil. Overweight and obesity were strongly associated with high BP. These findings underscore the urgent need for public health measures to prevent increasing high BP in adolescents in Brazil. Targeting intervention in adolescence may be a critical method for preventing high BP in later life.

(Received March 08 2010)

(Accepted December 02 2010)

(Online publication February 03 2011)


c1 Corresponding author: Email