Intensity and frequency of physical activity and high blood pressure in adolescents: A longitudinal study

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Cardiovascular Diseases | Pediatrics


Despite limited evidence on the association between physical activity (PA) and blood pressure (BP) in youth, experts recommend that adolescents engage regularly in moderate-to-vigorous PA. We examined the relationships between PA intensity and frequency and the likelihood of having high BP in a population-based cohort of adolescents from Montreal, Canada. PA was self-reported every 3 months from grade 7 to 11, and BP was measured at ages 12.8, 15.2, and 17.0 years on average. We analyzed data from 993 participants (mean [SD] age = 16.0 [1.0], 51.6% female) with BP data at ages 15.2 and/or 17.0 years, using pooled ordinal logistic regression. BP (normal/elevated/hypertensive range) was the outcome, and past-year PA intensity and frequency were potential predictors. Eight percent of participants had elevated BP (120-129/ < 80), and 3.2% had BP in the hypertensive range ( > /=130/ > /=80). Participants engaged in a median (interquartile range) of 7.0 (4.5, 9.3) and 5.5 (2, 10.8) moderate and vigorous PA sessions/week, respectively. After adjusting for age, sex, mother's education, use of alcohol and cigarette consumption, engaging in PA more intense than light during the previous year was associated with a lower odds of having BP in the hypertensive range (ORs [95% CIs] = 0.93 [0.88, 0.97] to 0.97 [0.94, 0.99]). The relationships were not altered by adjusting for BMI. Our findings support recommendations that adolescents engage in at least moderate PA on a regular basis to prevent development of BP in the hypertensive range.


adolescents, blood pressure, hypertension, physical activity

DOI of Published Version



Wellman RJ, Sylvestre MP, Abi Nader P, Chiolero A, Mesidor M, Dugas EN, Tougri G, O'Loughlin J. Intensity and frequency of physical activity and high blood pressure in adolescents: A longitudinal study. J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2020 Jan 19:10.1111/jch.13806. doi: 10.1111/jch.13806. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 31955514. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of clinical hypertension (Greenwich, Conn.)

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Link to Article in PubMed

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