Objective: To determine age-specific patterns and correlates of blood pressure (BP) in Tobagonian adolescents.
Methods: Blood pressure, weight and heights were measured using standardized procedures. Age-height and gender-specific BP levels were established and compared with those established for adolescents in the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Jamaica.
Results: Of the available population, 3749 or 84.9% participated in the study. Among Tobagonian adolescents, the mean one-year age increment in systolic blood pressure (SBP) was 3.6 (95% CI: 3.2, 3.9) mmHg in males and 1.5 (95% CI: 1.2, 1.8) mmHg in females. Likewise, the mean one-year increment in diastolic blood pressure (DBP) was 2.1 (95% CI: 1.7, 2.4) mmHg in males and 1.2 (95% CI: 0.9, 1.4) mmHg in females. There was an inversion of mean BP with age. Females 12–13 years having significantly higher mean SBP while those 15–18 years had lower SBP than their male counterparts. Similarly, females 12–14 years had significantly higher mean DBP while those 16–18 years had lower DBP than their male counterparts. Approximately, 6.1% (95% CI: 5.4, 7.0) and 8.2% (95% CI: 7.4, 9.1) of participants had elevated SBP and DBP based on the US reference standards.
Adolescents from the UK had average SBP and DBP that were 10 mmHg higher and lower respectively than their Tobagonian counterparts while Jamaican adolescents had diastolic BP consistently lower than Tobagonian adolescents of similar age. Elevated BP was associated with overweight and family history of hypertension.
Conclusion: Growth and maturational factors are important determinants of blood pressure levels in this population. Furthermore, the wide variation in these key variables among possible BP referent populations necessitates the development of local blood pressure reference standards for Tobagonian adolescent populations.