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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 60  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 262-267

Hypertension in children: Could the prevalence be on the increase?

1 Department of Paediatrics, College of Medicine, Enugu State University of Technology, Enugu, Nigeria
2 Department of Paediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria
3 Child Survival Unit, Medical Research Council, Fajara, The Gambia

Correspondence Address:
Obinna C Nduagubam
Department of Paediatrics, College of Medicine, Enugu State University of Technology (ESUT), Enugu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/nmj.NMJ_51_19

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Background: In children particularly in the developing world, there is a tendency to downplay the role of primary hypertension in their health. In adults, a number of factors have clearly been associated with the incidence of hypertension. Knowledge of the prevalence of hypertension and its associated factors among children in our environment is important and could inform the need for lifestyle changes and routine blood pressure (BP) checks in children so as to reduce BP-related health risks. Aim: The aim of this study is to document the prevalence of hypertension and its risk factors among children in Enugu, Nigeria. Materials and Methods: Children aged 6–17 years attending the outpatient clinic of a tertiary hospital, were enrolled for the study. Their socioeconomic status (SES), weight, height, BP, and dipstick urinalysis were measured using standardized methods. Adherence to Mediterranean diet was assessed using the Mediterranean Diet Quality Index (KIDMED). The prevalence of hypertension and the influence of these factors on their BP were analyzed. Results: Forty-six (9%) of the 491 participants had hypertension. Of these 46 hypertensive children, 72% were females while a significantly higher proportion 57% (P = 0.006), were in the age group 13–17 years. While age, gender, and the presence of protein in urine were significantly associated with hypertension in these children; body mass index, diet, family history of hypertension, and SES were not. Conclusion: The prevalence of hypertension in children in this environment is high and appears to be increasing. There is need for routine BP and urinalysis check for all children in our clinics and wards.

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