Tobacco Exposure, Weight Status, and Elevated Blood Pressure in Adolescents.Huntington-Moskos, L., Turner-Henson, A., & Rice, M.
The pathogenesis of hypertension begins in youth. An estimated 4 % of US adolescents have diagnosed hypertension and 17 % have elevated blood pressures, predisposing them to hypertension and cardiovascular disease (CVD) later in life. There is limited research on the clustering of CVD risk factors such as tobacco exposure and weight status that may be associated with high blood pressure in adolescents. The aim of this exploratory study was to determine the relationships between total smoke exposure (TSE; cigarette smoking and secondhand smoke), waist circumference, and blood pressure in a sample of rural adolescents, ages 15-18. A convenience sample of 148 adolescents ages 15-18 was recruited from two rural high schools (88 female and 60 male, all Caucasian). Adolescents were assessed for tobacco exposure (self-report, salivary cotinine), weight status (body mass index, waist circumference), and blood pressure. Self-report measures of tobacco exposure included the Uptake Continuum and Peer and Family Smoking measure. Age, gender, waist circumference and salivary cotinine contributed to 35 % of the variance in systolic blood pressure and 18 % in diastolic blood pressure. One-fourth (25 %) of adolescent males and 11 % of adolescent females had elevated systolic blood pressures. Approximately one-fifth of the sample (22 %) had elevated salivary cotinine levels indicative of tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure. TSE and waist circumference were predictors of elevated blood pressure in adolescents. Public health measures need to address clusters of risk factors including blood pressure, tobacco exposure, and weight status among adolescents in order to reduce CVD.