Infant Weight Gain - Risks

Early Weight Gain and Blood Pressure

Low birthweight infants who gain excessive weight between the ages of 12 months and 5 years have a raised risk of high systolic blood pressure (hypertension) in adult life.

This is the finding of a Southampton study of 346 adult men and women aged 21 to 24 years. All of the participants had records of height, weight and blood pressure up to age 10 years. The lower the birthweight and higher the weight gain between 12 and 60 months (but not before 12 months), the higher the systolic blood pressure on follow-up.

The effect was not large: systolic blood pressure was 2.7mm Hg higher for each 1kg reduction in birthweight, but this adds to our knowledge of the consequences of adverse events in fetal and early childhood life on adult health.

Source: Law CM, et al. Circulation 2002; 10.1161.

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