Cardiology in the Young

Original Article

Arterial hypertension in school-aged children in western Romania

Adela Chirita-Emandia1a2 c1, Maria Puiua2a3, Mihai Gafencua1a2 and Corina Pienara1a2

a1 Department of Pediatrics, University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Victor Babes”, Timisoara, Romania

a2 Department of Pediatrics, Emergency Hospital for Children “Louis Turcanu”, Timisoara, Romania

a3 Department of Genetics, University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Victor Babes”, Timisoara, Romania


Aim To describe the current prevalence of paediatric hypertension and the relationships between body mass index, gender, place of residence, and blood pressure in a population of school-aged children from western Romania.

Material and method A total of 3626 children from Timisoara and the surrounding regions were examined by medical students from February, 2010 to June, 2011. Children's body mass index was interpreted on the basis of reference guidelines from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Blood pressure measurements were taken by the auscultation method. For defining elevated blood pressure, we used the standards published in the Fourth Report.

Results Overall, the prevalence of overweight was 14% and 11.8% for obesity. Boys had a higher prevalence of both overweight and obesity compared with girls. The prevalence of hypertension on our screening was 9.1% higher in boys and urban residence. The prevalence of pre-hypertension was 6.5%. With regard to body mass index, 21.1% of obese, 12.8% of overweight, and 7.1% of normal weight children presented hypertension. The strongest determinant of hypertension was body mass index percentile. Significant odds ratio was found for obesity (3.93; confidence interval: 3.11–4.95), urban residence (1.68; confidence interval: 1.35–2.1), and male gender (1.34; confidence interval: 1.12–1.6).

Conclusions The results confirm a worrisome prevalence of overweight and obesity among children in Romania, accompanied by an alarming prevalence of hypertension. Overweight and obesity, male gender, and urban residence were the major contributing factors for the overall high prevalence of hypertension found. Our results point to the urgent need to adopt strategies aimed at preventing hypertension and obesity in children in Romania.

(Received January 05 2012)

(Accepted May 20 2012)

(Online publication July 13 2012)


  • Elevated blood pressure;
  • obesity;
  • overweight


c1 Correspondence to: Dr A. Chirita-Emandi, MD, PhD Student, Department of Endocrinology, Emergency Hospital for Children “Louis Turcanu”, Street Iosif Nemoianu number 2, 300011 Timisoara, Romania. Tel: +0040724369599; Fax: +0040256497818; E-mail: