Abstract 13848: Low Birth Weight is Associated With Higher Blood Pressure Variability From Childhood to Adulthood: The Bogalusa Heart Study
Introduction: Low birth weight is well known to be associated with elevated blood pressure (BP) levels later in life. This study tested the hypothesis that low birth weight is predictive of increased long-term BP variability from childhood to adulthood independently of BP levels.
Methods: The study cohort consisted of 1454 subjects (939 whites and 515 blacks; age=21-50 years). BP variability was depicted as standard deviation (SD) and deviation (Dev) from age-predicted values using 6 serial BP measurements from childhood to adulthood since 1973.
Results: Blacks and males showed significantly greater BP variability than whites and females, respectively; blacks had significantly lower birth weight than whites. After adjusting for race, sex, age and gestational length, birth weight was significantly and negatively associated with adulthood BP levels (the last measurement), long-term BP levels from childhood to adulthood and rate of change, but not with childhood BP levels (the first measurement). Importantly, low birth weight was significantly associated with increased BP variability in terms of SD and Dev, and the race-birth weight interaction was not significant. In the combined sample of blacks and whites, as measured by the regression coefficients, 1 kg of lower birth weight was associated with 0.43 mmHg increase in SD of systolic BP (p=0.023), 0.55 mmHg increase in SD of diastolic BP (p=0.002), 0.17 mmHg increase in Dev of systolic BP (p=0.046) and 0.23 mmHg increase in Dev of diastolic BP (p=0.003) when adjusting for covariates and long-term BP levels from childhood to adulthood. Furthermore, adjustment for current body mass index yielded considerably stronger birth weight-BP level association, but did not affect birth weight-BP variability associations substantially.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that birth weight affects not only BP levels, but also the magnitude of within-individual BP fluctuations over time that reflect response of environmental stimulus, thereby providing additional evidence for the role of fetal programming in the relationship between the burden of unhealthy lifestyle behaviors and the regulation of BP throughout the life course.
- © 2011 by American Heart Association, Inc.