Weight gain after adolescence has repercussions for hypertension

Published on December 31, 2012 at 5:15 PM · No Comments

By Piriya Mahendra, medwireNews Reporter

Individuals who gain weight in adulthood as well as those who are overweight in adolescence and adulthood are at increased risk for hypertension, research suggests.

Moreover, the risk for hypertension varied across racial/ethnic groups, with Hispanic men having a 2.74-fold increased risk for hypertension, while Black men had a 4.36-fold increased risk, and White men had a 6.38-fold increased risk, compared with Hispanic, Black, and White men of normal weight.

Hispanic women had a 6.46-fold increased risk for hypertension, while White women had a 6.38-fold increased risk, and Black women a 4.36-fold increased risk, compared with Hispanic, White, and Black women of normal weight.

Shakira Suglia (Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York, USA) and team say that the data in their study provides further support for prevention strategies that begin early in life to delay the onset of chronic disease in young adults.

The analysis of 8543 participants revealed that 30% of them were overweight (body mass index [BMI] ≥85th percentile) in adolescence (mean 16 years old), while in adulthood (mean 29 years old) this figure rose to 36%.

Black women and Hispanic women were significantly more likely to be overweight in adulthood than White women, at 35% and 27% versus 19% respectively.

Hispanic men were more likely to be overweight in adulthood than Black men, but there was no significant difference in the prevalence of overweight Hispanic and White men, at 24% and 22%, respectively.

Men were significantly more likely to be hypertensive (defined as systolic blood pressure [SBP] 140 mmHg, diastolic blood pressure[DBP] 90 mmHg, or antihypertensive use) than women, at 28% versus 13%.

Black, Hispanic, and White men who were of normal weight in adolescence but became overweight in adulthood had an SBP that was significantly higher by 4.4, 4.0, and 5.3 mmHg, respectively, than their counterparts who maintained a normal weight across adolescence and adulthood.

Significant associations were also noted among Black, Hispanic, and White women who became obese in adulthood, at SBPs that were significantly higher by 8.3, 7.9, and 6.5 mmHg than women who maintained a normal weight across adolescence and adulthood, respectively.

"Overall, these data provide further support to the prevailing paradigm of prevention, which emphasizes prevention of risk factors early in life to reduce the impact of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus, in mid and later life," write the authors in Hypertension.

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