Health Fact Sheets
Blood pressure of children and youth, 2012 to 2015

Release date: October 13, 2016

The results of the 2012 to 2015Note 1 Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS) indicate that the average resting blood pressure of children and youth aged 6 to 19 was 97/62 mmHg. Among this group, 93% had a measured blood pressure that was considered normal and 7% had results considered borderline or elevated (data not shown).

In children aged 6 to 11, average resting blood pressure was 94/62 mmHg, while youth aged 12 to 19 had an average resting blood pressure of 99/63 mmHg.

The proportion of girls aged 12 to 19 with blood pressure in the normal range was significantly higher than that of girls aged 6 to 11 (Chart 1).

Chart 1 Distribution of household population aged 6 to 19, by blood pressure classification, sex and age group, Canada, 2012 to 2015

Data table for Chart 1
Data table for chart 1
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for chart 1 Normal and Borderline or elevated, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
  Normal Borderline or elevated
percent
Total 6 to 11 years 91 9
12 to 19 years 94.8 5,2Note E: Use with caution
Boys 6 to 11 years 92.7 7.3
12 to 19 years 93.7 5,3Note E: Use with caution
Girls 6 to 11 years 89.1 10.9
12 to 19 years 95.9 4,1Note E: Use with caution

Blood pressure and body composition

Height and weight were measured for all CHMS respondents. Children and youth who were classified as being overweight (99/62 mmHg) or obese (102/64 mmHg) had a significantly higher average blood pressure than normal weight children (95/61 mmHg). Average systolic blood pressure was significantly higher in overweight and obese children compared with those in the normal weight category (Chart 2). As well, overweight and obese children had significantly higher average diastolic blood pressure when compared with their normal weight counterparts (Chart 3).Note 2Note 3Note 4Note 5

Chart 2 Average systolic blood pressure (mmHg) of children and youth aged 6 to 19, by body mass index (BMI), sex and age group, household population, Canada, 2012 to 2015

Data table for Chart 2
Data table for chart 2
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for chart 2 Thinness/normal weight, Overweight and Obese, calculated using mmHg units of measure (appearing as column headers).
  Thinness/normal weight Overweight Obese
mmHg
Total 6 to 11 years 93 96 100
12 to 19 years 96 101 103
Boys 6 to 11 years 92 95 100
12 to 19 years 97 102 106
Girls 6 to 11 years 93 96 101
12 to 19 years 96 99 100

Chart 3 Average diastolic blood pressure (mmHg) of children and youth aged 6 to 19, by body mass index (BMI), sex and age group, household population, Canada, 2012 to 2015

Data table for Chart 3
Data table for chart 3
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for chart 3 Thinness/normal weight, Overweight and Obese, calculated using mmHg units of measure (appearing as column headers).
  Thinness/normal weight Overweight Obese
mmHg
Total 6 to 11 years 61 62 65
12 to 19 years 61 62 64
Boys 6 to 11 years 61 61 65
12 to 19 years 61 63 64
Girls 6 to 11 years 61 62 65
12 to 19 years 61 62 64

 

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About blood pressure

Blood pressure is a measure of the force of blood against the artery walls, and is expressed as systolic pressure/diastolic pressure in millimetres of mercury (e.g., 120/80 mmHg). The systolic pressure (top number) is the pressure when the heart contracts and pushes the blood out, and the diastolic pressure (bottom number) is the lowest pressure when the heart relaxes between beats.

Resting blood pressure was measured in the CHMS using an automated device (BPTru™) following a five-minute rest period. The BPTru™ recorded six measurements, one minute apart. The average systolic and diastolic blood pressure were calculated using the last five out of six measurements.

The criteria for blood pressure classification in children and adults are as follows:

Table
The criteria for blood pressure classification in adults are as follows:
Table summary
This table displays the results of The criteria for blood pressure classification in adults are as follows:. The information is grouped by Category (appearing as row headers), Description (appearing as column headers).
Category Description
Ages 6 to 17Note 2 Ages 18 and 19Note 3
Normal SBP and DBP < 90th percentile Mean SBP/DBP < 120/80 mmHg
Borderline SBP or DBP ≥ to the 90th percentile, but < the 95th percentile OR
Measured mean SBP/DBP > 120/80 mmHg
Mean SBP of 120-139 mmHg and mean DBP of 80-89 mmHg OR
Mean SBP of 120-139 mmHg and mean DBP < 80 mmHg OR
Mean SBP < 120 mmHg and mean DBP of 80-89 mmHg
Elevated SBP or DBP ≥ 95th percentile OR
Respondent reported using blood pressure medication within the past month
Mean SBP/DBP of ≥ 140/90 mmHg OR
Respondent reported using blood pressure medication within the past month

Data

Canadian Health Measures Survey data related to this fact sheet are available in CANSIM tables 117-0004, 117-0008 and 117-0009.
For more information on the Canadian Health Measures Survey, please contact Statistics Canada's Statistical Information Service (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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