Vitamin D deficiency is associated with hypertension in adults. It is unknown to what degree vitamin D status in early life can affect blood pressure (BP) a decade later. This study investigated the effect of vitamin D trajectory through early life on systolic BP (SBP) in childhood. This is a prospective birth cohort study of 775 children enrolled from 2005 to 2012 and followed prospectively up to age 18 years at the Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA. Persistent low vitamin D status is defined as plasma 25(OH)D <11 ng/mL at birth and <25 ng/mL in early childhood. Elevated SBP is defined as SBP ≥75th percentile. Low vitamin D status at birth was associated with higher risk of elevated SBP at ages 3 to 18 years: odds ratio, 1.38; (95% CI, 1.01-1.87) compared to those with sufficient vitamin D. Low vitamin D status in early childhood was associated with a 1.59-fold (95% CI, 1.02-2.46) higher risk of elevated SBP at age 6 to 18 years. Persistent low vitamin D status from birth to early childhood was associated with higher risk of elevated SBP (odds ratio, 2.04; [95% CI, 1.13-3.67]) at ages 3 to 18 years. These results suggest that low vitamin D status and trajectory in early life were associated with increased risk of elevated SBP during childhood and adolescence. Our findings will help inform future clinical and public health strategies for vitamin D screening and supplementation in pregnancy and childhood to prevent or reduce risk of elevated BP across the lifespan and generations.
Keywords: blood pressure; cell proliferation; homeostasis; pregnancy; vitamin D.