An estimated 800,000 additional youths aged 12 to 19 years would be reclassified as having hypertension under the 2017 American Academy of Pediatrics hypertension guidelines, according to a new report from the CDC.
In order to analyze trends in hypertension among this age group and the impact of the new guidelines on the classification of hypertension, the CDC conducted a data analysis involving 12,004 participants aged 12 to 19 years in the 2001 to 2016 National health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
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They found that, when using both the new and old guidelines, prevalence of hypertension declined (7.7% to 4.2% and 3.2% to 1.5%, respectively). However, due to the new lower threshold for hypertension, application of the new guidelines resulted in an estimated increase of 795,000 US youths being reclassified as hypertensive using the 2013 to 2016 data. Youths who were older, male, and those with obesity accounted for a disproportionate percentage of those reclassified as hypertensive.
“Clinicians and public health professionals might expect to see a higher prevalence of hypertension with application of the new guideline and can use these data to inform actions to address hypertension among youths. Strategies to improve cardiovascular health include adoption of healthy eating patterns and increased physical activity,” the authors wrote.
Jackson SL, Zhang Z, Wiltz JL, et al. Hypertension among youths — United States, 2001–2016. MMWR. 2018. 67(27):758–762.