Weight in infancy and death from ischaemic heart disease

Lancet. 1989 Sep 9;2(8663):577-80. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(89)90710-1.


Environmental influences that impair growth and development in early life may be risk factors for ischaemic heart disease. To test this hypothesis, 5654 men born during 1911-30 were traced. They were born in six districts of Hertfordshire, England, and their weights in infancy were recorded. 92.4% were breast fed. Men with the lowest weights at birth and at one year had the highest death rates from ischaemic heart disease. The standardised mortality ratios fell from 111 in men who weighed 18 pounds (8.2 kg) or less at one year to 42 in those who weighed 27 pounds (12.3 kg) or more. Measures that promote prenatal and postnatal growth may reduce deaths from ischaemic heart disease. Promotion of postnatal growth may be especially important in boys who weigh below 7.5 pounds (3.4 kg) at birth.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Birth Weight*
  • Body Weight
  • Bottle Feeding
  • Breast Feeding
  • Coronary Disease / mortality*
  • England
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight / growth & development
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Life Expectancy
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Class