Placental weight, birth measurements, and blood pressure at age 8 years

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ObjectiveTo examine relationships between blood pressure during childhood and both placental weight and body size at birth, in an Australian population.DesignA follow up study of a birth cohort, undertaken when cohort members were aged 8 years.SettingAdelaide, South Australia.Subjects830 children born in the Queen Victoria Hospital in Adelaide, South Australia, during 1975-6.Main outcome measuresSystolic and diastolic blood pressure measured when the children were aged 8 years.ResultsBlood pressure at 8 years was positively related to placental weight and inversely related to birth weight, after adjusting for the child's current weight. For diastolic pressure there was a decrease of 1.0 mm Hg for each 1 kg increase in birth weight (95% confidence interval (CI) equals minus 0.4 to 2.4) and an increase of 0.7 mm Hg for each 100 g increase in placental weight (95% CI equals 0.1 to 1.3). Diastolic pressure was also inversely related to chest circumference at birth, independently of placental weight, with a decrease of 0.3 mm Hg for each 1 cm increase in chest circumference (95% CI equals 0.2 to 0.5).ConclusionsThese findings are further evidence that birth characteristics, indicative of fetal growth patterns, are related to blood pressure in later life.(Arch Dis Child 1996;74:538-541)

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