Introduction: The prevalence of childhood obesity remains high, putting millions of children at risk of developing certain illnesses, such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, it is vital to determine the true scope of the issue and reveal the risk factors associated with this condition. Since the objective of this study is to compare the obesity and hypertension levels between adolescents in Philadelphia urban and suburban high schools, these risk factors can be highlighted and analyzed.
Methods: Biometric and demographic data of Philadelphia urban students was collected from the Athlete Health Organization (AHO) pre-participation evaluations (PPEs) from 2016-2018. It was analyzed and compared to data from Simon’s Heart Foundation’s HeartBytes registry, which provided the information for the suburban high school students. The body mass index (BMI) was subsequently determined and examined alongside the blood pressure measurements.
Results: Evaluation of the AHO data shows that 41%, 36%, and 44% of the urban students were overweight in 2016, 2017, and 2018, respectively. Among these students who were considered overweight, many of them were classified as having stage 1 or 2 hypertension readings. Initial analysis of the Heartbytes data shows a lower percentage of overweight students, but further examination is needed.
Conclusion: As of right now, the data supports the hypothesis that the urban population will have a higher prevalence of obesity and hypertension levels than the suburban students. Knowing this, it will allow pediatricians and other health care professionals to identify children most at risk and provide appropriate support and prevention strategies.
Gonnella, Joseph; Close, MD, Jeremy; Bozzi, MD, Michael; Levey, Peri; and Prochno, Kyle, "Differences in Hypertension and Obesity Levels between High School Students in Philadelphia Urban and Suburban Areas" (2021). Phase 1. Paper 15.