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    ABSTRACT: The prevalence of obesity and its complications are increasing in children and adolescents. Available data on obesity and other body measurements for ethnic minority children are insufficient. Our purpose was to examine the association between BP and obesity, waist and hip circumferences and waist/hip (W/H) ratio. These measurements were obtained from 1659 predominently ethnic minority students in 6 urban public schools as a part of school-based obesity and BP screening. The mean student age was 15±1.3 years; 48% were male and ethnicity was 58% Hispanic, 32% AA, and 7% White. On screening, 3 blood pressure measurements were obtained and the average BP was calculated. Elevated BP was defined as average BP>95th%ile for age and gender. Body mass index (BMI) was used to assess for obesity, defined as BMI >95th%ile for age and gender. The prevalence of obesity was 26.5% for both ethnic groups. Hispanic males and AA females had the highest prevalence of obesity, 30.4% and 28.5%, respectively. The prevalence of elevated SBP for obese children was 19.1% compared to 15.5% for non-obese children (p<0.01). Obese Hispanic and AA females had a prevalence of elevated SBP more than two times greater than that in non-obese groups. BMI was significantly correlated to both SBP and DBP (r varies between 0.20-0.47). The prevalence of elevated DBP was comparable among obese and non-obese and varied between 2.2-2.4%. Only in Hispanic males and females did waist and hip circumferences and W/H ratio correlate significantly with both SBP and DBP. In conclusion, we found a high prevalence of obesity in all ethnic-gender groups and a significant association between obesity and elevated BP in ethnic minority females. The increased prevalence of obesity may have explained in part the increase of hypertension prevalence among Hispanics and AA females. The lack of such association in males needs further investigation.
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