Blood Pressure Tracking from Childhood Important

June 17, 2008

Blood pressure tracking from childhood to adulthood is useful because childhood blood pressure is correlated with blood pressure in adulthood, according to a report published online June 16 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

TUESDAY, June 17 (HealthDay News) -- Blood pressure tracking from childhood to adulthood is useful because childhood blood pressure is correlated with blood pressure in adulthood, according to a report published online June 16 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Xiaoli Chen, M.D., Ph.D., and Youfa Wang, M.D., Ph.D., from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, performed a meta-analysis of 50 cohort studies providing 617 data points published from 1970-2006 that tracked blood pressure from childhood to adulthood.

The researchers found that the average blood pressure tracking correlation coefficients were 0.38 for systolic blood pressure and 0.28 for diastolic blood pressure. Tracking strength varied based on baseline age and length of follow-up, significantly increasing with baseline age by 0.012 for systolic blood pressure and 0.009 for diastolic blood pressure, and significantly decreasing with follow-up length by 0.008 for systolic blood pressure and 0.005 for diastolic blood pressure. There was little variation in blood pressure with the number of measurements or across race or population groups.

"Data from diverse populations show that the evidence for blood pressure tracking from childhood into adulthood is strong," Chen and Wang conclude. "Childhood blood pressure is associated with blood pressure in later life, and early intervention is important."

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