Cardiovascular disease risk factors in school children

The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of high blood pressure and the rate of cardiovascular disease risk factors of school-aged children. The subjects were 2350 fifth-, eight- and ninth grade children, 1225 girls (52.1%) and 1125 boys (47.9%) from Maksimir, Zagreb included in routine medical check-ups. 111 (4.7%) students had elevated blood pressure, 16 (2.9%) fifth graders, 27 (4.4%) eight graders and 68 (5.7%) ninth graders. Family history of cardiovascular disease, one or more risk factors, were reported by 29.6-56.2% of the children in the risk group, and by 0-26.5% of the children in the control group. The prevalence of familiar CVD risk factors is significantly greater in children with elevated blood pressure at all ages. One or more cardiovascular disease risk factors in the medical history were seen in 35.3-43.8% of the subjects in the risk group and in 11.1-25.0% of the subjects in the control group. 72.1-88.9% of the children were physically inactive in the risk group and 66.7-81.3% of them in the control group. 29.6-56.3% of the students with elevated blood pressure and 14.8-25.0% of the children with normal blood pressure have a high body mass index (BMI). Early detection of cardiovascular disease risk factors among children is possible in routine work in school medicine. However, prevention and health education and promotion should be directed to the general population of children, not only to the children who are at high risk, because some risk factors cannot be identified at this age since they develop in the adult years.
Category: Original scientific paper
Volume: Vol. 46, No 4, october - december 2002
Authors: T. Čavlek, V. Mandac, N. Perković, K. Gršić
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