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Open Access Research article

Weight status and hypertension among adolescent girls in Argentina and Norway: Data from the ENNyS and HUNT studies

Marit Stray-Pedersen1, Ragnhild M Helsing1, Luz Gibbons2, Gabriela Cormick2*, Turid L Holmen3, Torstein Vik1 and José M Belizán2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Laboratory Medicine, Children's and Women's Health, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway

2 Department of Mother & Child Health Research, Institute for Clinical Effectiveness and Health Policy (IECS), Buenos Aires, Argentina

3 HUNT Research Center, Department of Public Health and General Practice, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Verdal, Norway

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BMC Public Health 2009, 9:398  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-9-398

Published: 30 October 2009

Abstract

Background

To provide data on overweight, obesity and hypertension among adolescent girls in Norway and Argentina.

Methods

Data was obtained from two population-based, cross-sectional and descriptive studies containing anthropometric and blood pressure measurements of 15 to 18 year old girls. The study included 2,156 adolescent girls from Norway evaluated between 1995 and 1997, and 669 from Argentina evaluated between 2004 and 2005.

Results

Around 15% of adolescent girls in Norway and 19% in Argentina are overweight or obese. Body mass index (BMI) distribution in these two countries is similar, with a low percentage (< 1%) of girls classified as thin. Norwegian adolescents show a height mean value 8 cm taller than the Argentinean. Obesity is strongly associated with systolic hypertension in both populations, with odds ratios of 11.4 [1.6; 82.0] and 28.3 [11.8; 67.7] in Argentina and Norway, respectively. No direct association between BMI and systolic hypertension was found, and only extreme BMI values (above 80th - 90th percentile) were associated with hypertension.

Conclusion

This study confirms a current world health problem by showing the high prevalence of obesity in adolescents and its association with hypertension in two different countries (one developed and one in transition).