Childhood Obesity Predicts High Blood Pressure

As readers will recall, I am currently attending the 23rd Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Hypertension here in Vancouver.

As presented at this conference, the Increasing number of people living with hypertension (as with diabetes) is largely driven by the current obesity epidemic.

Importantly, a new study by Roy Sabo and colleagues from Virginia Commonwealth University, just published online in the American Journal of Human Biology, supports the notion that excess weight in childhood can significantly predict adult blood pressure.

The study shows that serial measurements of percent body fat (PBF, %) and waist circumference (WC, cm) performed between the ages 5.5–18 years participants in the Fels Longitudinal Study were significantly associated with both adult blood pressure metrics in men and women.

The authors point out, that as childhood adiposity is related to adulthood adiposity, and adult adiposity is related to adult blood pressure, it stands to reason that childhood adiposity may well play an indirect role in this relationship.

The fact that the associations found in this study between childhood adiposity and adult blood pressure were weakened in the presence of adult adiposity, suggests that adult reduction or increases in body weight can counteract or amplify this impact of childhood obesity on adult blood pressure.

Thus, it is probably never too late to begin addressing overweight and obesity to reduce the risk of obesity related high blood pressure.

Vancouver, BC

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Sabo RT, Lu Z, Daniels S, & Sun SS (2010). Relationships between serial childhood adiposity measures and adult blood pressure: The Fels longitudinal study. American journal of human biology : the official journal of the Human Biology Council PMID: 20865760