Twin Research

Articles

Association of Birth Weight and Current Body Size to Blood Pressure in Female Twins

Caryl A. Nowsona1 c1, Robert J. MacInnisa2, John L. Hoppera3, Jo L. Alexandera4, Lynda M. Patona5, Claire Margerisona6 and John D. Warka7

a1 Department of Health Sciences, Deakin University. nowson@deakin.edu.au

a2 Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Royal Melbourne Hospital.

a3 Centre for Genetic Epidemiology, The University of Melbourne.

a4 Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Royal Melbourne Hospital.

a5 Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Royal Melbourne Hospital.

a6 Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Royal Melbourne Hospital.

a7 Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Abstract

It has been proposed that low birth weight is associated with high levels of blood pressure in later life. The aim of this study was to assess the relationship of blood pressure to birth weight and current body size during growth and adulthood. A total of 711 female multiple births, with one group of 244 in their growth phase mean age 12.0 (2.3)(SD) years and the other of 467 adults (mean age 35.2 (12.6) years), had height, weight and both systolic (SBP) and diastolic (DBP) blood pressures measured, and self-reported their birth weight. Regression analyses were performed to assess the cross-sectional and within-pair associations of blood pressure to birth weight, with and without adjustments for current body size. Within-pair analysis was based on 296 twin pairs. Cross-sectionally, a reduction in birth weight of 1 kg was associated with 2 to 3 mm Hg higher age-adjusted SBP, which was of marginal significance and explained about 2% of the population variance. Adjustment for body mass index did not significantly change this association. Within-pair analyses found no association between birth weight and SBP or DBP, even after adjusting for current body size. After age, current body size was the strongest predictor of systolic BP. The weak association of blood pressure to birth weight cross-sectionally is of interest, but any within-pair effect of birth weight on blood pressure must be minimal compared with the effect of current body size.

Correspondence:

c1 Address for correspondence: C. Nowson, Department of Health Sciences, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood VIC 3082, Australia.

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