Gender differences in blood pressure and body composition in schoolchildren ascendants from Amerindian and European

C. Alvarez*, M. Flores-Opazo, R. Mancilla, C. Martinez-Salazar, P. Mangiamarchi, F. Sade-Calles, R. Ramirez-Campillo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: In spite of there are a wide knowledge of the prevalence of hypertension in adult, there is poor information on schoolchildren of different ethnicity and gender. Aim: To compare the levels of blood pressure and other cardiometabolic risk factors for hypertension between schoolchildren of different gender and ethnicity. Material and methods: In a cross-sectional study, 540 schoolchildren (6-13 years) ascendants from a Chilean public school population were analysed by ethnicity and gender in four groups (Mapuches N = 55; European boys N = 199, and Mapuches N = 64, and European girls N = 222). The study included the measurement of cardiovascular (systolic and diastolic blood pressure) as main outcomes, as well as other cardiovascular (resting heart rate), body composition (body mass, BMI, waist circumference, fat mass, muscle mass), muscle strength (handgrip strength of dominant, non-dominant, and mean handgrip strength) as additional cardiometabolic outcomes. Results: The systolic blood pressure was significantly higher in Mapuches girls 126 +/- 4 vs. their European counterparts 119 +/- 3 mmHg, P < .002, as well as diastolic blood pressure, was higher in Mapuches girls 82 +/- 5 vs. European girls 74 +/- 3 mmHg, P < .0001. There were more 'prehypertensive' Mapuches girls 10 (15.6%) vs. European peers 22 (9.9%) at P < .0001, and the 'hypertension' was significantly more prevalent in Mapuches boys 19 (34.5%) vs. European peers 39 (19.4%) at P < .0001, as well as in Mapuches girls 16 (25%) vs. European peers 33 (14.9%) at P < .0001. The 'obesity' was less prevalent in Mapuches 10 (18.2%) vs. European boys 55 (27.4%) at P < .0001. The waist circumference was high in European 74 +/- 4 vs. Mapuches 67 +/- 6 cm, P < .012 in boys, although, waist circumference was high in Mapuches girls 75 +/- 5 vs. European peers 71 +/- 3 cm, P < .021. There were higher levels of muscle mass in Mapuches boys 19.5 +/- 12 vs. European peers 17.1 +/- 4 kg, P < .0001. Conclusion: Mapuches girls show higher levels of systolic and diastolic BP than European girls, Mapuches boys and girls are more hypertensive than European peers, but are less obese than European schoolchildren peers. These cardiometabolic differences that are more detrimental for endemic ethnic Latinoamerican groups are in need to be explored further.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)936-947
Number of pages12
JournalEthnicity & Health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2021


  • Schoolchildren
  • blood pressure
  • hypertension
  • body composition
  • ethnicity
  • AGE


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