Obesity Hypertension in Adolescents: Epidemiology, Evaluation, and Management


Bonita E. Falkner, MD, Department of Medicine and Pediatrics, Thomas Jefferson University, 833 Chestnut Street, Suite 700, Philadelphia, PA 19107
E-mail: bonita.falkner@jefferson.edu


The prevalence of hypertension among all adolescents is approximately 3.5%, with somewhat higher rates of prehypertension. Obesity affects approximately 20% of adolescents in the United States, and the prevalence of hypertension is much higher among obese adolescents compared with nonobese adolescents. As in other populations, the evaluation of elevated blood pressure in obese adolescents should begin with a confirmation of the blood pressure elevation, followed by a focused diagnostic work-up to detect possible secondary causes of hypertension. Primary therapy for obesity-related hypertension in adolescents begins with weight loss, and may include antihypertensive medications if target-organ damage or other indications for drug therapy are present. The emphasis of management should be reduction of future cardiovascular risk.

J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2011;13:323–331. ©2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.