Association of Obesity with the Prevalence of Hypertension in School Children from Central Thailand

Sanguansak Rerksuppaphol, Lakkana Rerksuppaphol


Background: Obesity and underweight are both a public health concern worldwide. Being overweight, and obesity are primary risk factors for the development of chronic conditions including hypertension. Data on obesity and the underweight as well as their association with hypertension in Thai children, specifically, are scant. This study was aimed to assess the relationship between obesity or underweight status and hypertension in Thai school children.

Methods: Anthropometric data were collected from 3991 students (mean age of 9.5 yr) in Ongkharak district, central Thailand. The sex as well as the age-specific BMI criteria of the WHO were used to define what is overweight, obesity, underweight and severe underweight status of children. In order to calculate the odds ratio and the association between one's nutritional status and hypertension logistic regression was used.

Results: Obese and overweight children have a higher prevalence of hypertension compared with children with an average weight (49.5% and 26.5% versus 16.2%, respectively). The risks of developing hypertension is also high in obese children (OR 5.15; 95%CI: 4.27, 6.22), overweight children (1.87; 95% CI: 1.50, 2.32) and overweight/obese children (OR 3.30; 95% CI: 2.82, 3.86. Additionally, underweight children were not associated with an increased risk of hypertension (OR 1.04; 95% CI: 0.72, 1.42).

Conclusions: Rates of hypertension in overweight and obese children are high in central Thailand and, as a result, this increased body weight is a risk factor for hypertension. Larger, multi-centric studies are required to evaluate the correlation between hypertension and obesity amongst children at the national level.


Child; Obesity; Overweight; Underweight; Hypertension

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