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Teen Boys More Likely to Have High Blood Pressure

Gender differences in systolic blood pressure increase as teens approach adulthood

MONDAY, Dec. 4 (HealthDay News) -- During adolescence, boys are significantly more likely than girls to develop high systolic blood pressure, a novel finding that could lead to new strategies to reduce hypertension in young adult males, according to a report published online Dec. 4 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

In 1999, Kaberi Dasgupta, M.D., of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and colleagues began studying 1,267 seventh graders (614 boys and 653 girls), 844 of whom were reassessed in ninth and eleventh grades.

The researchers found that boys had a greater risk of high systolic blood pressure values compared to girls in seventh grade (odds ratio, 1.29), in ninth grade (OR, 1.98) and in eleventh grade (OR, 2.74). In both sexes, they also found that high systolic blood pressure values were positively associated with overweight (OR, 2.63) and sedentary behavior (OR, 1.17) and negatively associated with physical activity (OR, 0.92).

"The results of the present study demonstrate that not only are boys more likely than girls to have high systolic blood pressure in youth but that this risk difference increases in magnitude during the adolescent period, likely accounting for higher prevalence of hypertension among men compared with women in young and middle-aged adults," the authors conclude. "Greater understanding of sex differences in cardiovascular risk factors may ultimately lead to improved strategies for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in both women and men."

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