|Prevalence of Behavioral and Physiological Risk Factors of Hypertension in African American Adolescents
Maureen McCormick Covelli
American (AA) adolescents are twice as likely to develop high blood
pressure in early adulthood as other groups. Continuous existence of
risk factors in adolescents may be precursors to adult cardiovascular
changes. The purpose of this study was to describe the prevalence of
cardiovascular risk factors in a sample of AA adolescents.
A secondary analysis was conducted on data obtained from a sample of AA
adolescents (N = 48; 32 males and 16 females) ages 14–17 years from a
larger study. Factors included family history of hypertension (FHH),
diet, exercise, blood pressure, and cortisol levels before and after
Findings: Thirty-one participants (65%) had positive FHH, 35 (73%) had
three or less serving of fruits/vegetables per day, 41 (85%) reported
exercising less than three times per week. Of the participants, 14
(29%) had elevated blood pressure, 30 (63%) had cardiovascular
reactivity, 32 (67%) had elevated cortisol, and 23 (48%) had cortisol
hyper-responsivity. Ninety-four percent had four or more risk factors
and 44% had six or more.
This study demonstrates the increased prevalence of physiological and
behavioral risk factors in this adolescent population.