Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gender differences in blood pressure appears as early as adolescence, with girls faring worse

Date:
October 14, 2011
Source:
American Physiological Society
Summary:
The female hormone estrogen is known to offer protection for the heart, but obesity may be taking away that edge in adolescent girls. New research finds that although obesity does not help teens of either gender, it has a greater impact on girls' blood pressure than it does on boys'.

The female hormone estrogen is known to offer protection for the heart, but obesity may be taking away that edge in adolescent girls. New research from the University of California at Merced finds that although obesity does not help teens of either gender, it has a greater impact on girls' blood pressure than it does on boys'.

In a study of more than 1,700 adolescents between 13 and 17 years old, obese boys were 3.5 times more likely to develop elevated systolic blood pressure (SBP) than non-obese boys, but similarly obese girls were 9 times more likely to develop elevated systolic blood pressure than their non-obese peers. Systolic blood pressure, which is represented by the top number in a blood pressure reading, is the amount of force that blood exerts on blood vessel walls when the heart beats. High systolic measurements indicate risk for heart disease and stroke.

Rudy M. Ortiz, PhD, Associate Professor of Physiology and Nutrition and lead researcher in the study, will present his team's findings at the Physiology of Cardiovascular Disease: Gender Disparities conference, October 12-14 at the University of Mississippi in Jackson. The conference is sponsored by the American Physiological Society with additional support from the American Heart Association. His presentation is entitled, "Relationships Between Body Mass Category and Systolic Blood Pressure in Rural Adolescents."

The Study

Dr. Ortiz and his team obtained their data by direct measurements during the school district's health surveys and physicals to assess the teenagers' SBP against two health indicators: body mass index (BMI), which was categorized as normal weight, overweight, or obese, and blood pressure, which was categorized as normal, pre-elevated, or elevated.

The researchers found that the teenagers' mean BMI was significantly correlated with mean SPB for both sexes when both BMI and blood pressure assessments were used. They also found a significant correlation between BMI and SBP as a function of blood pressure, suggesting that the effect of body mass on SBP is much greater when it is assessed using blood pressure categories.

"We were able to categorize the students in different ways, first based on BMI within each of three blood pressure categories. Then we flipped that around and looked at each category of blood pressure for different weight categories. In each case, we are looking at SBP as the dependent variable," said Dr. Ortiz.

An odds ratio analysis revealed that obese boys were 2 and 3.5 times more likely to develop pre-elevated and elevated SBP, respectively, than boys who were normal weight. Obese girls were 4 and 9 times more likely to develop pre-elevated and elevated SBP, respectively, than girls who were normal weight.

Implications

According to Dr. Ortiz, the results do not bode well for obese teens later in life, especially for the girls. "Overall, there is a higher likelihood that those who present with both higher BMI and blood pressure will succumb to cardiovascular complications as adults. But the findings suggest that obese females may have a higher risk of developing these problems [than males]."

As for why obesity has a greater impact on SBP in girls than in boys, Dr. Ortiz has a hunch. "This may be where physical activity comes into play. We know, for example, that obese adolescent females participate in 50 to 60% less physical activity than boys in the population surveyed."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Physiological Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Physiological Society. "Gender differences in blood pressure appears as early as adolescence, with girls faring worse." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111014123046.htm>.
American Physiological Society. (2011, October 14). Gender differences in blood pressure appears as early as adolescence, with girls faring worse. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111014123046.htm
American Physiological Society. "Gender differences in blood pressure appears as early as adolescence, with girls faring worse." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111014123046.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 20, 2014) A patient who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus is in isolation at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Reasons Why Teen Birth Rates Are At An All-Time Low

Reasons Why Teen Birth Rates Are At An All-Time Low

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) A CDC report says birth rates among teenagers have been declining for decades, reaching a new low in 2013. We look at several popular explanations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins