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J Cardiovasc Risk. 1999 Oct;6(5):311-4.

Low birth weight and risk of hypertension in African school children.

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  • 1Lomo Medical, Kinshasa-Limete, Democratic Republic of Congo.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In accordance with Baker's programming hypothesis, many studies have demonstrated a relationship between low birth weight (LBW) and high risk of hypertension in adulthood. The present study examines a possible association between LBW and the risk of a child having hypertension later in life.

METHODS:

The study was a cross-sectional, semi-urban survey. Information on the perinatal characteristics of 2648 randomly sampled school children was collected retrospectively in Kinshasa town, Democratic Republic of Congo.

RESULTS:

High risk of hypertension in these African school children was related to LBW (<2.500 g); the odds ratio was 2 (95% confidence interval 0.9-8.2, P<0.01) and 2.3 (95% confidence interval 0.6-11.5, P<0.01) for systolic and diastolic hypertension respectively. Birth weight was inversely related with both blood pressure and heart rate; the strongest association was shown in females and adolescents.

CONCLUSIONS:

Antenatal stress leading to LBW may be associated with programming induced by foetal undernutrition, which in turn leads to the emergence of cardiovascular disease and increased risk of hypertension.

PMID:
10534134
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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