Association of blood pressure with body mass index and waist circumference in adolescents

Gopal N. Dwivedi, Shiny Sethi, Rachna Singh, Shiromani Singh


Background: Hypertension in children is increasing along with the childhood obesity epidemic. Body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) are commonly used indices to assess obesity. WC as a visceral fat indicator can be suggested to be a better predictor of CVD risk such as high BP than BMI, which reflects both lean and fat mass. There are few studies investigating the relationship between WC and elevated blood pressure in school age children. Hence this study was undertaken to study the effect of body mass index and waist circumference on blood pressure.

Methods: A total of 610 children aged 10-18 years who completed both anthropometric and BP measurements were studied. Height, weight, body mass index, waist circumference and blood pressure were recorded.

Results: SBP and DBP was found to be higher in children with high BMI (>85th percentile) and high WC (>90th percentile) groups. Waist circumference and BMI are strongly associated with both SBP and DBP (p< 0.001).

Conclusions: This study showed that increased BMI and WC are good predictors of rise in SBP and DBP. WC is easier to measure than blood pressure in terms of training and access to equipment, especially in low income settings. Therefore we suggest measurement of WC as a screening tool for childhood hypertension.


Obesity, Waist circumference, Body mass index, Blood pressure

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