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The distribution of blood pressure and associated factors (height, weight, body mass index, age, social class) was assessed in young Mexican adults, with a cross-sectional study of 657 male and female students enrolled at the University of Mexico, aged from 19 to 25 years. Significantly higher blood pressure levels were observed in males than in females. Borderline hypertension was found in 20.7% of the study subjects. Of all anthropometric factors, age and social class, weight was determined by stepwise regression analysis as the best predictor for blood pressure when using a linear model. However, when a quadratic model was used, a 'U' relationship and a significant variation between blood pressure and social class was detected. This relationship was magnified when blood pressure was categorized into borderline hypertension and normotensives. These findings suggest the hypothesis that hypertension has a non-linear association with social class in environments that are undergoing an intermediate step of modernization and economic transition such as is occurring in Latin American countries today.