Physical Activity, BMI, and Blood Pressure in US Youth: NHANES 2003–2006

in Pediatric Exercise Science
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Purpose: The objective of this study was to examine the independent and combined association of physical activity and body mass index (BMI) with blood pressure in youth. Methods: Youth aged 8–18 years from the 2003–2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) with BMI, blood pressure, and physical activity (accelerometer) were included in the analyses. A total of 2585 subjects (1303 males; 47% of all 8- to 18-year-olds) met these criteria. Results: Obese youth had a systolic blood pressure that was 8 mm Hg higher than normal weight youth. A significant interaction between BMI and physical activity on blood pressure was found (P < .001), and group differences among the BMI/activity groups showed that the 3 obese groups and the overweight/least active group had significantly higher systolic blood pressure than the normal weight/active group across all analyses. The overweight/least active and normal weight/least active groups had significantly higher diastolic blood pressure than the normal weight/active group as well. Conclusions: This study showed a significant independent and combined association of BMI and physical activity with blood pressure in youth. Interventions need to focus on the reduction of fatness/BMI as a way to reduce the cardiovascular risk in youth.

Betz is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, Albion College, Albion, MI. Eisenmann is with the USA Football, Indianapolis, IN. Laurson is with the School of Kinesiology and Recreation, Illinois State University, Normal, IL. DuBose is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC. Reeves is with the Dept. of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. Carlson is with the Dept. of Radiology/Sports & Cardiovascular Nutrition, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. Pfeiffer is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI.

Address author correspondence to Heather Hayes Betz at hbetz@albion.edu.
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