a1 College of Health Science, Ministry of Health, Bahrain
a2 Food and Nutrition Division, Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome, Italy
a3 Environmental & Biological Programme, Bahrain Centre for Studies and Research, Manama, Bahrain
a4 The Institute of Ophthalmology, University College London, London, UK
The objective of the present study was to examine the relationship between body composition and blood pressure (BP) in Bahraini adolescents. A sample of 504 Bahraini schoolchildren aged 12–17 years (249 boys and 255 girls) was selected using a multi-stage stratified sampling procedure. BP measurements were performed on the students. Anthropometric data including weight, height, waist circumference (WC), hip circumference, and triceps, subscapular and medial calf skinfold thicknesses were also collected. BMI, percentage body fat, waist:hip (WHR), and subscapular:triceps skinfold ratio were calculated. Mean systolic BP and mean diastolic BP were higher in males than in females. Weight and height in boys and weight only in girls were significantly associated with systolic BP independent of age or percentage fat. Nearly 14% of the adolescents were classified as having high BP. BMI and percentage body fat were significantly and positively associated with the risk of having high BP in the boys and girls. Adolescents with high WHR or WC, as indicators for central obesity, tended to have higher BP values. The results from the present study indicate that obesity influences the BP of Bahraini adolescents and that simple anthropometric measurements such as WHR and WC are useful in identifying children at risk of developing high BP. These findings together with the known tracking of BP from adolescence into adulthood underline the importance of establishing intervention programmes in order to prevent the development of childhood and adolescent obesity.
(Received January 02 2003)
(Revised May 27 2003)
(Accepted June 23 2003)