Objectives Although obesity is fast increasing, there are few data on the prevalence of high-normal or elevated blood pressure in United Arab Emirates.
Methods We conducted a school-based survey of a representative sample of youth (n = 1524) aged 12 to 18 years in Al Ain, UAE. BP measurements were made with a manual sphygmomanometer by trained nurses. Additional measures included height, weight, and abdominal circumference. BMI ≥85th and ≥95th percentiles were used to define overweight and obesity according to the 2000 CDC growth charts. The prevalence of ‘high normal’ and ‘elevated’ BP was assessed by comparing the subjects’ SBP and DBP with age-, gender-, and height-specific 90th and 95th percentile reference values from the US National High Blood Pressure Education Program. Metabolic syndrome was defined using International Diabetes Federation guidelines.
Results A high proportion of Emirati adolescents (21%) were obese compared to their non-local counterparts (16%). Off the study adolescents 6% had elevated blood pressure. A high proportion (19.1%) of obese children had elevated blood pressure compared to those who were overweight (4.8%) and normal (2.1%). Prevalence of metabolic syndrome was high (42%) among obese compared to their counterparts with overweight (14%) and normal weight (5%).
Conclusion The present findings emphasise the importance of the prevention of obesity in order to prevent future cardiovascular related problem such as hypertension.
- Body mass index
- blood pressure