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'.

Related Articles


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 October 24, 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 October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) The family of a Dallas nurse infected with Ebola in the US says doctors can no longer detect the virus in her. Despite the mounting death toll in West Africa, there are survivors there too. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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