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Relationship between obesity and pulse pressure in children: results of the National Health and Nutrition Survey (NHANES) 1988–1994



Obesity is a known cardiometabolic risk factor in children. In adults, pulse pressure (PP) is a known predictor and a risk factor of cardiovascular (CV) diseases. In this study, we examined the association between measures of obesity and PP in children.


A retrospective analysis of 4667 children ages 6-17 years from the National Health and Nutrition Survey (1988-1994) was performed. We defined wide PP as 4th quartile PP and high waist circumference (WC) as >75th percentile based on age and gender.


There were 51% boys, 74% whites, 16% blacks, 10% Hispanics, 12% obese, 26% with high WC, 26% with wide PP, and 9% with high blood pressure (BP). Prevalence of wide PP was high among obese children. A significantly higher mean PP was observed in boys, Blacks, obese, those with high WC and high BP. The adjusted odds ratio (OR) for wide PP was higher in boys, Blacks, and those with high WC.


There was a statistically significant independent association observed between wide PP and high WC, but not with obesity based on BMI. Further exploration of wide PP as a CV risk factor in childhood and its relationship to CV outcomes appears warranted.

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