PURPOSE: We sought to assess the association between birth weight and adult systolic blood pressure in a relatively young, healthy, working population with prospectively collected birth data and blood pressure consistently recorded.
METHODS: Detailed information on pregnancy and birth came from the Walker cohort, a database of babies born in Dundee, Scotland 1952-1966. Follow-up was conducted through record linkage to demographic and health information from the SHARP (Scottish Heart and Arterial Disease Risk Prevention) cohort, a working population screened for cardiovascular risk factors between 1991 and 1993.
RESULTS: There were 1158 (56% male) subjects with a mean age of 32.1 years. Multivariable regression analysis showed no association between birth weight and systolic blood pressure when adjusted for age, gender, body mass index (BMI), cigarettes and alcohol, and social class B = 0.04 (95% confidence interval - 1.37, 1.45). A decrease of 0.1 mm Hg for each 1-kg increase in birth weight was observed after additional adjustment for parental high blood pressure but was not statistically significant. BMI and male gender were predictors of increasing blood pressure. A parental history of high blood pressure showed an increase in systolic blood pressure of 4.1 mmHg (maternal) and 3.0 mm Hg (paternal).
CONCLUSION: We were unable to demonstrate an inverse association between birth weight and systolic blood pressure. In this cohort, BMI and male sex remain consistent influences on blood pressure.
- blood pressure
- birth weight
- body mass index
- FETAL ORIGINS HYPOTHESIS