Environmental variation in the prevalence of hypertension in children and adolescents – is blood pressure higher in children and adolescents living in rural areas?

Department of Epidemiology Chair of Social Medicine, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poland
Institute of Anthropology, Faculty of Biology, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland
Department of Pediatric Cardiology and Nephrology, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med 2017;24(1):129–133
[b]Introduction.[/b] Despite considerable progress in diagnostic methods and treatment options, cardiovascular diseases constitute a serious health issue in Poland, and hypertension is considered one of the main risk factors in the incidence of the diseases. [b]Objectives.[/b] The aim of this study is to assess the values of arterial blood pressure among adolescents in the context of urban and rural environments. [b]Materials and method.[/b] The study was carried out on a representative, randomly selected group of youths aged 10–18 years, participating in the ADOPOLNOR project. Prior to blood pressure measurement, each pupil was assessed according to anthropomorphic principles. The BP measurements strictly followed the guidelines of the Fourth Protocol of the American Working Group of High Blood pressure in Children and Adolescents. [b]Results[/b]. Mean values of systolic blood pressure (SBP) in boys in rural areas were higher in every age group than in the boys in urban areas. Higher values of systolic and diastolic blood pressure were observed also in girls in rural areas. BP values sufficiently high for the diagnosis of hypertension were observed in 12.8% of the rural boy population but only in 6.7% of the boys from the urban environment. The difference is statistically significant. The girls in rural areas (13.3%) had twice the incidence of elevated BP values in comparison with the girls in urban areas (7.2%) and, as in boys, the difference is statistically significant. Conclusions. The high proportion of pupils with elevated arterial blood pressure observed in the rural areas of Wielkopolska calls for regularly performed BP assessment and monitoring in this populatio