For the analysis, all 15,701 respondents to the most recent Add Health interview were asked whether they had been told by a health care professional that they had high blood pressure. After the interview, respondents remained seated for five minutes and study technicians took three readings of their blood pressure. The study technicians checked the accuracy of each reading and the average of the last two readings was entered into the study database. The Add Health researchers attempted to collect blood pressure readings on all of the study's participants, including those in prisons and in the military.
High blood pressure was more prevalent among the Add Health respondents (19 percent) than in the NHANES respondents (4 percent). The study authors noted, however, that the proportion of respondents who reported they had been told by a health care provider that they had high blood pressure was similar: 11 percent for Add Health and 9 percent for NHANES.
The study authors wrote that many young people are unaware that they have high blood pressure. In such screenings of a large number of participants, it is expected that more participants would be found to have high blood pressure upon examination than would report that they had high blood pressure in the past.
The Add Health survey results fit this expected pattern, with 11 percent saying they had earlier been told they had high blood pressure, and 19 percent later having been found to have high blood pressure upon examination. This pattern was reversed for NHANES, with 9 percent reporting they had high blood pressure, and 4 percent measured with high
|Contact: Robert Bock or Marianne Glass Miller|
NIH/National Institute of Child Health and Human Development