Estimated Change in Prevalence and Trends of Childhood Blood Pressure Levels in the United States After Application of the 2017 AAP Guideline.

Al Kibria GM, Swasey K, Sharmeen A, Day B.

INTRODUCTION: Childhood hypertension is associated with higher risks of cardiovascular disease during adulthood. This study estimated the prevalence of hypertension and high blood pressure among children aged 8 to 17 years in the United States per the 2017 American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guideline and compared that with the 2004 National Institutes of Health/National Heart, Lung,
and Blood Institute (NIH/NHLBI) guideline's prevalence estimate during 2005-2008  and 2013-2016.

METHODS: This cross-sectional study analyzed the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data. High blood pressure included hypertension and elevated blood pressure (per the 2017 AAP guideline)/prehypertension (per the 2004 NIH/NHLBI guideline).

RESULTS: The analysis included 3,633 children in 2005-2008 and 3,471 children in  2013-2016. Per the 2004 NIH/NHLBI guideline, 3.1% (95% confidence interval [CI],  2.3%-4.3%) had hypertension in 2005-2008 and 1.9% (95% CI, 1.4%-2.6%) had hypertension in 2013-2016. Per the 2017 AAP guideline, prevalence was 5.7% (95% CI, 4.6%-7.1%) in 2005-2008 and 3.5% (95% CI, 2.7%-4.5%) in 2013-2016. About 2.5% (95% CI, 2.0%-3.1%) children in 2005-2008 and 1.5% (95% CI, 0.9%-2.0%) children in 2013-2016 were reclassified as hypertensive. We observed a similar change in prevalence for high blood pressure after application of the new guideline. The prevalence of high blood pressure also declined from 2005-2008 to 2013-2016 per both guidelines.

CONCLUSION: Although the new guideline would reclassify a small proportion of children as having hypertension or high blood pressure, the prevalence declined from 2005-2008 to 2013-2016.