The relationship of childhood to adult blood pressure: longitudinal study of juvenile hypertension in Lithuania


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Abstract

ObjectiveTo assess changes in blood pressure from childhood to adulthood and the ability to predict adult blood pressure.DesignLongitudinal study of a cohort of children with baseline data and a follow-up survey after 20 years.SettingEpidemiological survey of schoolchildren and subsequent inhabitants of Kaunas, a town in Lithuania.ParticipantsThe children came from 15 schools and accounted for 25% of all 12- and 13-year-old children born in 1964 in Kaunas. The frst survey (n = 1082) was carried out in 1977. The same population was re-examined in 1997 (n = 505). Data from 217 men and 288 women, who participated in both the first and the most recent surveys, is presented.Main outcome measuresSystolic and diastolic blood pressure at the age of 32–33 years.ResultsIn the 20 years between the two surveys blood pressure increased more in men than in women. Statistically significant correlation between childhood and adult blood pressure levels was estimated (for systolic blood pressure r = 0.40 in men and r = 0.24 in women; for diastolic blood pressure r = 0.14 in men and r = .34 in women). Stepwise regression analysis of the data showed that the best predictors of adult blood pressure were the initial childhood blood pressure levels and change in BMI during the 20-year period for both men and women. Other factors were less predictive.ConclusionsChildhood blood pressure is related to adult levels and, together with changes in body mass index, is a significant predictor of adult blood pressure.

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