Predictors of cardiovascular health in teenagers (aged 13-14 years): a cross-sectional study linked with routine data

Michaela James, Danielle Christian, Samantha Scott, Charlotte Todd, Gareth Stratton, Joanne Demmler, Sarah McCoubrey, Julian P Halcox, Suzanne Audrey, Elizabeth Anne Ellins, Sinead Brophy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Objective: To examine the predictors of cardiovascular health in teenagers (aged 13-14 years).

Methods: Measures of arterial stiffness (augmentation index (AIx)), blood pressure and cardiovascular fitness were taken from 234 teenage children (n=152 boys) and subsequently linked to routine data (birth and general practice records, education data and hospital admission data). Deprivation at school and at individual level was measured at birth, at 1 year old, at 13 years old and at secondary school using the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation. Multivariate regression analysis determined associations between routinely collected data and cardiovascular measures.

Results: Teenagers had higher AIx (2.41 (95% CI 1.10 to 3.72)), ran fewer metres (-130.08 m (95% CI -234.35 to -25.78)) in the Cooper Run Test if they attended a more deprived school. However, higher individual level deprivation was associated with greater fitness (199.38 m (95% CI 83.90 to 314.84)). Higher systolic blood pressure was observed in first born children (10.23 mm Hg (95% CI 1.58 to 18.88)) and in those who were never breastfed (4.77 mm Hg (95% CI 1.10 to 8.42)).

Conclusions: Improving heart health in deprived areas requires multilevel action across childhood namely, active play and programmes that promote physical activity and fitness and, the promotion of breastfeeding. Recognition of the important early indicators and determinants of cardiovascular health supports further development of the evidence base to encourage policy-makers to implement preventative measures in young people.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere001147
Number of pages7
JournalOpen Heart
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2019


  • public health
  • risk factors
  • risk stratification


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