Objective: We assessed the association between birth weight, weight change, and current blood pressure (BP) across the entire age-span of childhood and adolescence in large school-based cohorts in the Seychelles, an island state in the African region.
Methods: Three cohorts were analyzed: 1004 children examined at age 5.5 and 9.1 years, 1886 children at 9.1 and 12.5, and 1575 children at 12.5 and 15.5, respectively. Birth and 1-year anthropometric data were gathered from medical files. The outcome was BP at age 5.5, 9.1, 12.5 or 15.5 years, respectively. Conditional linear regression analysis was used to estimate the relative contribution of changes in weight (expressed in z-score) during different age periods on BP. All analyses were adjusted for height.
Results: At all ages, current BP was strongly associated with current weight. Birth weight was not significantly associated with current BP. Upon adjustment for current weight, the association between birth weight and current BP tended to become negative. Conditional linear regression analyses indicated that changes in weight during successive age periods since birth contributed substantially to current BP at all ages. The strength of the association between weight change and current BP increased throughout successive age periods.
Conclusion: Weight changes during any age period since birth have substantial impact on BP during childhood and adolescence, with BP being more responsive to recent than earlier weight changes.