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Relationship between Parental Socio-economic Status and Casual Blood Pressure in Coastal Nigerian Adolescents

VO Ansa
MU Anah
FA Odey
PN Mbu
EI Agbor


BACKGROUND: Emerging data suggest that essential or primary hypertension occurs in the young. Parental socioeconomic status may play a role but the exact mechanisms still remain unclear.
OBJECTIVE: This study was aimed at determining the relationship between parental socioeconomic status and casual blood pressure in adolescents.
METHODS: One thousand and eight adolescents attending two secondary schools in Calabar, Nigeria were selected by stratified random sampling. Their blood pressure, weights and heights were taken using standard methods and sociodemographic data were obtained using a pretested semistructured questionnaire.
RESULTS: Blood pressure was increased with age with males having higher values. The other major determinants of blood pressure were weight, height, body mass index, level of physical activity and parental socioeconomic status (p <0.05). No relationship was established between these determinants as well as dietary habits with parental socioeconomic status (p > 0.05). Female adolescents with parents in the lower
socioeconomic classes had significantly higher systolic and diastolic blood pressure (p < 0.05). In contrast, parental socioeconomic status showed no significant relationship with systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure in males (p >0.05).The prevalence of elevated blood pressure was higher in females than in males.
CONCLUSION: Low parental socioeconomic status appear to be associated with higher casual blood pressure especially in female coastal Nigerian adolescents. Traditional determinants did not appear to play a significant role. Psychological stress arising from environmental and economic stressors may be responsible.