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Introduction: Blood pressure (BP) is a vital sign that should be

recorded in children and adolescents. Studies have shown that

hypertension in children can lead to adult cardiovascular diseases,

which are the leading cause of death in many countries, including

Colombia. The aim of this paper was to show the blood pressure

data in a school population, 7 to 18 years of age in the city of Cali.

Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study to

assess risk factors for chronic diseases in a school

population of Cali, Colombia, which included anthropometry,

blood chemistry, physical work capacity, oral

health, diet, and BP. Two pediatricians registered BP by

auscultatory method in both arms according to standard

method. BP data, their relationship with age, gender,

height, body mass index, socioeconomic status, and salt

intake were reported for this student population.

Results: A total of 2807 students from different

Educational institutions in the urban area of Cali were

evaluated. Some 92.2% of the school population had

normal BP with values below the 90th percentile, 3.8%

had blood pressure between 90 to 95th percentiles or prehypertension,

and 3.2% were hypertensive with blood pressure above the

95th percentile for age, gender, and height percentiles according to

standards. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure increases

with age, height, and in males the values are slightly higher. No

significant differences were found in systolic and diastolic BP

regarding socioeconomic status. There was no difference

between right and left arm BP. Higher sodium intake in

diet and body mass index increase systolic BP levels.

Conclusions: The data found agree with those

reported in the literature. Socioeconomic level does not

influence blood pressure values in the population studied.

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Received 2012-02-23
Accepted 2012-02-23