(HealthDay News) – The prevalence of elevated blood pressure (BP) increased among children from 1988–1994 to 1999–2008, according to a study published online July 15 in Hypertension.

Bernard Rosner, PhD, from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues assessed the prevalence of elevated BP using data from a sample of 3,248 children (aged 8–17 years old) participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) III (1988–1994) and 8,388 children participating in continuous NHANES (1999–2008). Elevated BP was defined as systolic BP or diastolic BP ≥90th percentile or systolic BP/diastolic BP ≥120/80mmHg).

The researchers found that there was an increase in the prevalence of elevated BP from NHANES III to NHANES 1999–2008 (boys: 15.8–19.2%; P=0.057; girls: 8.2–12.6%; P=0.007). Significant, independent correlations were seen for the prevalence of elevated BP with body mass index (quartile 4 vs. quartile 1: odds ratio, 2), waist circumference (quartile 4 vs. quartile 1: odds ratio, 2.14), and sodium (Na) intake (≥3,450mg vs. <2,300mg/2,000 calories: odds ratio, 1.36). In children, mean systolic BP, but not diastolic BP, correlated significantly with increased Na intake (quintile 5 vs. quintile 1 of Na intake: β = 1.25 ± 0.58).

“In conclusion, we demonstrate an association between high Na intake and elevated BP in children, after adjustment for age, sex, race/ethnicity, body mass index, waist circumference, and sodium intake,” the authors write.

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