Birth Weight Linked to Blood Pressure in Adulthood

September 3, 2008

Birth weight is associated with systolic blood pressure and rate of growth is associated with both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in adulthood, according to the results of a study of young adults published online Sept. 2 in Hypertension.

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Birth weight is associated with systolic blood pressure and rate of growth is associated with both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in adulthood, according to the results of a study of young adults published online Sept. 2 in Hypertension.

Yoav Ben-Shlomo, M.D., of the University of Bristol in Bristol, United Kingdom, and colleagues examined whether accelerated postnatal growth is predictive of adult blood pressure among 951 participants from the Barry Caerphilly Growth Study. The association among weight, length and growth velocities of both systolic and diastolic blood pressure were determined with multivariable linear regression and spline models.

Among the 679 available original subjects (73 percent), both regression and spline modeling demonstrated an inverse relationship between birth weight and systolic blood pressure, the researchers report. While the multivariable regression model did not demonstrate an association between weight gain and blood pressure, the spline models demonstrated early weight gain (0 to 5 months) and later weight gain (21 to 60 months) were independently associated with systolic blood pressure. Diastolic blood pressure was only associated with early weight gain, the investigators found.

"These findings suggest that developmental factors acting both prenatally and postnatally may alter future blood pressure," the authors conclude. "This is the first study to demonstrate that only immediate postnatal growth predicts diastolic blood pressure in term births, whereas it adds further evidence that both birth weight and postnatal growth are associated with systolic blood pressure in support of both the fetal origins and growth acceleration hypotheses."

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