Weight status and blood pressure among adolescent African American males: The jackson heart KIDS pilot study

Marino A. Bruce, Bettina M. Beech, Derek M. Griffith, Roland J. Thorpe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Obesity had not been considered a significant factor contributing to high levels of hypertension among African American males until recently. Epidemiologic research on heart disease among males has primarily focused on adults; however, the significant rise in obesity and hypertension prevalence among African American boys indicates that studies examining the relationship between excess body weight and elevated blood pressure among this high-risk population are critically needed. The purpose of our study was to examine the degree to which weight status has implications for elevated blood pressure among young African American males. Method: The data for this cross-sectional study were drawn from adolescent males (N=105), aged 12-19 years and who participated in the Jackson Heart KIDS Pilot Study - an offspring cohort study examining cardiovascular disease risks among adolescent descendants of Jackson Heart Study participants. Blood pressure was the primary outcome of interest and weight status was a key independent variable. Other covariates were fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity, sleep, and stress. Results: Approximately 49% of adolescent males in the study were overweight or obese. Bivariate and multiple variable analyses suggest that obesity may be correlated with elevated diastolic blood pressure (DBP) levels among African American boys. Results from ordinary least squared regression analysis indicate that the DBP for boys carrying excess weight was 4.2 mm Hg (P<.01) higher than the corresponding DBP for their normal weight counterparts, after controlling for age, fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity, and sleep. Conclusions: Additional studies are needed to specify the manner through which excess weight and weight gain can accelerate the development and progression of CVDrelated diseases among African American males over the life course, thereby providing evidenced-based information for tailored interventions that can reduce risks for premature morbidity, disability, and mortality among this group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-312
Number of pages8
JournalEthnicity and Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular risk
  • Jackson heart KIDS pilot study-African American adolescent boys
  • Offspring cohort study
  • Population health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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