Overweight, Diet, Physical Activity, and Hypertension in Low-Income School-Aged Children

  • Kelley Marty California State University, Chico
  • Cindy Wolff California State University, Chico
  • Irene Morgan California State University, Chico


The purpose of this cross-sectional, descriptive study was to examine overweight as an independent risk factor for hypertension (HTN) in children, as well as associations among body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, diet, and physical activity. Study participants included 1,284 students in grades five to eight in three school districts in rural northern California. Analysis of variance was used to test for differences in BMI and blood pressure based on diet and physical activity. Pearson’s correlation was used to assess the relationships among blood pressure, BMI, dietary, and physical activity variables. Multiple regression analysis was used to determine independent risk factors for BMI and systolic blood pressure. Forty-four percent of the students were > 85th percentile BMI-for-age. With one blood pressure reading, 28% met the criteria for either pre-hypertension or hypertension using standardized criteria for age, gender, and height. HTN rates were significantly higher for overweight vs. normal weight children (p=.001). Fruit and vegetable intake decreased significantly by grade (р =.001). Regression results showed that soda consumption was an independent risk factor for BMI (p =.001) and that BMI was an independent risk factor for HTN (p=.001). Findings support the need for nutrition education and physical activity promotion programs in these three school districts.
How to Cite
Marty, K., Wolff, C., & Morgan, I. (2006). Overweight, Diet, Physical Activity, and Hypertension in Low-Income School-Aged Children. Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 4(2), 47-58. https://doi.org/10.32398/cjhp.v4i2.1932

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