Relationships between serial childhood adiposity measures and adult blood pressure: The Fels longitudinal study



Objectives: Several studies have shown that causes of adult hypertension arise in childhood, and obesity may be a potential cause or at least a mitigating factor in this development. Body mass index is a well studied obesity metric, yet other potential adiposity measures such as percent body fat and waist circumference have been somewhat less considered. The purpose of this study is to determine associations between these alternative serial childhood adiposity measures and adulthood blood pressure.

Methods: Measurements from participants in the Fels Longitudinal Study were used to summarize childhood adiposity, represented by childhood measurements of percent body fat and height-adjusted waist circumference. These subjects also provided systolic and diastolic blood pressure as adults. Childhood adiposity levels were categorized as high or low as compared to the respective upper quartile, and associations with adult blood pressure were measured using Poisson regression to estimate the number of expected occurrences of elevated adiposity during childhood. Adult lifestyle covariates and adiposity were accounted for using multiple linear regression.

Results: Summary indices of the childhood adiposity measures were significantly associated with both adult blood pressure metrics in men and women, though some of these associations were altered or reduced in the presence of adult lifestyle characteristics and adult adiposity measures.

Conclusions: Childhood measures of percent body fat and height-adjusted waist circumference have an effect on adult blood pressure, though the effect can be mitigated by adult lifestyles. Am. J. Hum. Biol., 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.