Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat accumulates to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems. Body mass index (BMI) compares weight and height, defines people as overweight (pre-obese) if their BMI is between 25 and 30 kg/m2, and obese when it is greater than 30 kg/m2. A study reveals that obese girls are more susceptible to high blood pressure than boys.
Causes and effects
Obesity is most commonly caused by a combination of excessive food intake, lack of physical activity, and genetic susceptibility, although a few cases are caused primarily by genes, endocrine disorders, medications or psychiatric illness. Obesity increases the likelihood of various diseases, particularly heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, certain types of cancer and osteoarthritis.
Blood pressure (BP) is the pressure exerted by circulating blood upon the walls of blood vessels, and is one of the principal vital signs of the body. During each heartbeat, BP varies between a maximum (systolic) and a minimum (diastolic) pressure.
A person’s BP is usually expressed in terms of the systolic pressure over diastolic pressure (mmHg), for example 140/90. It is measured on the inside of an elbow at the bronchial artery, which is the upper arm’s major blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart.
Obese girls suffer from more severe BP than obese boys
Dr Rudy Ortiz PhD, Associate Professor of Physiology and Nutrition from the University of California at Merced and team
width="226" height="223" /> studied 1,700 teenage boys and girls aged between 13 and 17 years. Their blood pressure, weight, height were measured and their BMI (body mass index) was also calculated. Accordingly, the participants were categorized as:
- Normal weight,
The researchers categorized the students in different ways, first based on BMI within each of three blood pressure categories. Then they flipped that around and looked at each category of blood pressure for different weight categories. In each case, they looked at systolic blood pressure (SBP) as the dependent variable. They found that among the teenagers, BMI was closely linked to mean SPB for both the girls and boys – the higher the BMI, the higher their SPB tended to be.
After analyzing the complete data, the researchers concluded that obese teenage males have a 3.5 times higher risk of developing high systolic blood pressure than those with normal weight.
However, the risk for obese teen girls was 9 times higher, compared to their counterparts of normal weight.