Simulated growth trajectories and blood pressure in adolescence: Hong Kong's Chinese Birth Cohort

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Patterns and amounts of growth may determine adult blood pressure. Growth at different phases is correlated and affects current size, making effects on blood pressure difficult to distinguish. We decomposed growth to 13 years into independent associations with blood pressure and estimated how reaching the same size by different routes could affect adolescent blood pressure.


Using estimates from partial least squares for the associations of birth weight, height, and BMI at 3 months, growth at 3–9 months, 9–36 months, 3–8 years and 8–13 years and size at 13 years with SBP and DBP in 5247 term births (67% follow-up) from Hong Kong's ‘Children of 1997’ Birth Cohort, we estimated SBP and DBP at 13 years for 99 simulated growth trajectories resulting in the same size using nonparametric bootstrapping.


High birth weight followed by slower growth was associated with lower SBP in both sexes and DBP in boys. Greater height to 3 years followed by slower height growth was associated with lower SBP in boys. Higher BMI until 9 months followed by slower BMI growth was associated with lower blood pressure in boys.


High birth weight or larger early size was associated with lower blood pressure if followed by slower later growth, consistent with the fetal origin hypothesis. However, whether these patterns are due to fetal and infant metabolic programming or to allowing slower growth at periods when rapid growth is harmful is unknown.

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