Journal of Obesity & Weight Loss Therapy
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Whilst there seem to be available data on body mass index (BMI) and elevated blood pressure profiles of South
African children, especially in urban areas, few data exist on rural children. The purpose of this study was to determine the
relationship between BMI, overweight and blood pressure among rural South African children residing in Thohoyandou,
Sample included 296 (134 boys and 135 girls) children aged 7-17 years. Body weight and height were measured using
standard procedures. Overweight was defined by body mass index (BMI) for gender and age. Blood pressure was monitored in
each child thrice using validated electronic devices (Omron HEM-705CP, Device, Tokyo, Japan). Hypertension was determined
as the average of three separate blood pressure readings where the systolic or diastolic blood pressure was ≥ 90th percentile for
age and sex.
Overweight were higher in girls (4.7%) compared with the boys (3.9%). In both sexes, overweight increases with age,
declining at age 10 in boys, whereas in the girls a decline in overweight was observable at age 12 years. Both systolic and diastolic
pressures (SBP and DBP) increase with age in both sexes. The proportion of children with >90th percentile occur at only ages 12
and 13 years. The incidence of hypertension (SBP>90th percentile) was 0.4% and 0.2% in boys and girls, respectively. The SBP and
DBP pressures significantly (p<0.05) correlate with age; body mass, height, and BMI.
Elevated blood pressure is prevalent among rural South African children residing in this region. Also, blood pressure
increased with age in both boys and girls, and this positively correlates with age, body weight, height and BMI. Intervention
strategies are needed to reduce overweight in children. There should be routine screening of body weight and blood pressure in
children as part of the physical examinations of schoolchildren.
Daniel Ter Goon has completed his Ph.D. from Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa. He is a Senior Lecturer, a Level II
International Advancement of Kinanthropometry (ISAK) trained anthropometrist. He has published more than 60 papers in reputed journals both
nationally and internationally. He is a reviewer of several journals. His research interests include obesity, growth and development.
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