Blood Pressure in Adolescence and Early Adulthood Related to Obesity and Birth Size

Authors

  • Dr. Catherine S. Berkey,

    Corresponding author
    1. Channing Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston
    2. Technology Assessment Group, Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston
      Channing Laboratory, 181 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.
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  • Jane Gardner,

    1. Maternal and Child Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115.
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  • Graham A. Colditz

    1. Channing Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston
    2. Technology Assessment Group, Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston
    Search for more papers by this author

Channing Laboratory, 181 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.

Abstract

Objective: Obesity is an established risk factor for higher systolic (SBP) and diastolic (DBP) blood pressure in adolescence and early adulthood, but birth size may also have a role. We analyzed the effects of adolescent and adult obesity and birth size on BP in the young adult.

Research Methods and Procedures: In a prospective longitudinal study, anthropometric measurements were obtained at birth on 67 boys and 67 girls bom in Boston. Their body mass indices (BMI) and BP were recorded 17 years and 30 years later.

Results: For women, adolescent and early adult obesity appeared to be the stronger determinants of higher BP, although smaller head and chest circumferences at birth may also be related. We found some evidence of birth (ponderal index [PI] and head circumference) anthropometric influences on age 17 BP levels in boys. By age 30, body mass variables were the dominant predictors of male BP levels. Female BMI at age 17 was positively correlated with birth adiposity (PI), but BMI at 30 was related only to age 17 BMI. Similarly, male BMI at 17 years was higher for those who weighed more at birth, but BMI at 30 years was again related only to age 17 BMI.

Discussion: We conclude that adult weight and weight gain are the major determinants of adult BP.

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