We aimed to estimate the association of BMI and risk of systemic hypertension in African-American females aged 65 years and older. In this retrospective, cross-sectional study, medical charts were randomly reviewed after obtaining institutional review board approval and data collection was conducted for height, weight, BMI, age, ethnicity, gender, and hypertension. A multivariable logistic regression analysis was performed. The mean BMI was significantly higher in hypertensive subjects than normotensives (30.3 vs. 29kg/m 2; P = 0.003). A higher proportion of hypertensive subjects had a BMI 23kg/m 2 as compared to normotensives (88.9% vs. 83.5%; P = 0.023). When the log odds of having a history of hypertension was plotted against BMI as a continuous variable, we found that the odds showed an increasing trend with increasing BMI and a steep increase after a BMI of 23kg/m 2. When BMI was analyzed as a categorical variable, a BMI of 23-30kg/m 2 was found to have an odds ratio of 1.43 (95% confidence interval 1.01-2.13; P = 0.05) and a BMI of 30kg/m 2 had an odds ratio of 1.76 (95% confidence interval 1.17-2.65; P = 0.007) when compared to a BMI of 23kg/m 2. This association remained significant in both univariate and multivariate analysis. We conclude that BMI is an independent predictor of hypertension in elderly African-American females. Our results indicate that the risk of hypertension increased significantly at BMI of 23kg/m 2 in this ethnic group. Weight reduction to a greater extent than previously indicated could play an integral role in prevention and control of high blood pressure in this particular population.