Ethnicity, pressor reactivity, and children's blood pressure. Five years of observations.
During the 5 years of this investigation, resting blood pressure and pressor reactivity were measured in 292 white children and 46 black children in 1987, 1988, 1989, and 1991. In 1987, all children were in the third grade; in 1991, the children were in the seventh grade. Reactivity was assessed with a standardized psychological stressor, a television video game. Children displayed significant stability of absolute blood pressure and heart rate reactivity between grades 3 and 7. At all examinations, black children demonstrated blood pressure reactivity that was significantly greater in magnitude (both absolute level and change from resting measurements) than that of white children. Black children exhibited significantly greater heart rate reactivity only when defined as change from the resting measurements; absolute levels of heart rate reactivity were comparable for blacks and whites. For black children, blood pressure reactivity in 1987 was the strongest predictor of resting blood pressure (both systolic and diastolic) in 1991. Among white children, resting blood pressure was the strongest predictor of future resting blood pressure. Further research is needed to determine if ethnic differences in children's pressor reactivity are associated with ethnic differences in the prevalence of hypertension.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association