(HealthDay News) – Obese black children have significantly higher blood pressure (BP) than their white peers of the same age and with the same body mass index (BMI), according to a study presented at the American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure Research Scientific Sessions, held from Sept 19–22 in Washington, D.C.

Tamara Hannon, MD, of the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, and colleagues conducted a study involving 821 obese children seen at a tertiary care center-based obesity clinic to evaluate whether there are racial differences in the effect of BMI on BP.

Among the cohort, the mean age was 11.72 years, mean BMI was 36.22kg/m², and mean systolic and diastolic BP were 109.36 and 69.99mmHg, respectively. Compared with white children, the researchers found that black children had statistically significantly higher mean BMI (37.32 vs. 35.34kg/m²) and higher systolic BP percentage (58.71 vs. 50.72mmHg). Age and BMI correlated with systolic BP in both white and black children; however, black children had significantly higher BP percentage values than white children of the same age and BMI.

“In conclusion, among children referred for treatment of obesity, there are race-dependent differences in the effect of BMI on blood pressure,” the authors write. “Black children are at a significantly greater risk for having elevated BP as compared with their white peers of similar age and severity of obesity.”

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