Department of Environmental and Preventive Medicine, Hyogo College of Medicine, Nishinomiya, Hyogo, Japan.
Obesity is an important risk factor for prehypertension and hypertension, and there are sex-specific differences in prevalences of obesity and hypertension. The aim of this study was to determine whether sex influences the relationships of obesity with prehypertension and hypertension.
The participants were 28 325 Japanese men and women aged 20-39 years. Obesity was evaluated by BMI (≥25 kg/m) and waist-to-height ratio (WHtR ≥0.5). Associations of obesity with prehypertension and hypertension were compared in men and women by using odds ratio (OR) and area under the curve (AUC).
ORs for prehypertension and hypertension in participants with vs. participants without high BMI or WHtR were significantly higher than a reference level of 1.00 both in men and women and were significantly higher in women than in men. ORs for prehypertension and hypertension of participants with vs. participants without high BMI were 3.10 (2.84-3.38) (men) vs. 5.54 (4.80-6.40) (women) (P < 0.01) and 12.06 (10.83-13.42) (men) vs. 34.58 (26.55-45.04) (women) (P < 0.01), respectively. ORs of the interaction terms consisting of sex (male vs. female) and adiposity (high vs. not high BMI or WHtR) for prehypertension and hypertension were found to be significant. AUCs for the relationships of BMI with prehypertension and hypertension were significantly larger than a reference level of 0.500 and were significantly larger in women than in men.
The results suggest that the associations of obesity with prehypertension and hypertension are stronger in women than in men.