Original Article | Volume 18: 6 | 30 Jan 2023

Prevalence and associated factors of hypertension among primary school children: A cross-sectional study in Kuching, Sarawak


Introduction: Hypertension is an emerging health concern among children owing to its increasing prevalence and association with obesity. However, hypertension screening is uncommon, and childhood hypertension-related data are limited. This cross-sectional study determined the prevalence and associated factors of hypertension among primary school children in Kuching, Sarawak.
Methods: Standard procedures and validated equipment were used to measure blood pressure and anthropometric indicators. The body mass index (BMI)-for-age and waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) were calculated. Questionnaires were used to obtain family sociodemographic data and health history.
Results: A total of 1,314 children aged 6–12 years were enrolled, of whom 107 (8.1%) and 178 (13.5%) were hypertensive and pre-hypertensive, respectively. The chi-squared test indicated that hypertension was significantly associated with male sex (P<0.05), ≥1 standard deviation BMI-for-age (P<0.001), percentage of excess body fat (BF)(P<0.001), 5th to 95th height percentile (P<0.001), >90th excess waist circumference (WC) percentile (P<0.001), >90th WHtR percentile (P<0.001), clerical, service, sales and skilled parental work (P<0.05), excess weight (P<0.05) and cardiovascular disease (P<0.01). Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that the percentage of excess BF [odds ratio (OR): 4.84, 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.01–11.66] and excess WC (OR: 2.33, 95% CI: 1.15–4.72) were significantly related to hypertension after adjusting for sex and age.
Conclusion: The prevalence of hypertension among the study population is higher than that among children worldwide. Childhood hypertension-related factors must be identified to aid in routine blood pressure screening, which is crucial for early detection and intervention to reduce future morbidity burden.