The study objectives were to investigate the indicators of obesity most associated with high blood pressure in community-dwelling elderly and identify among these which one best discriminates high blood pressure. This is an epidemiological, population, cross-sectional and home-based study of elderly people (≥ 60 years, n = 316) residing in northeastern Brazil. The results showed that the body mass index and the body adiposity index were the indicators more closely associated with high blood pressure in both sexes. Both in female and male genders, body mass index showed high values of specificity and low sensitivity values for discriminating high blood pressure, whereas the body adiposity index showed high sensitivity and moderate specificity values. In clinical practice and health surveillance, it is suggested that both indicators be used as screening tools for hypertension in the elderly.