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J Hum Hypertens. 2007 Apr;21(4):283-90. Epub 2007 Feb 1.

Association between body composition and blood pressure in a contemporary cohort of 9-year-old children.

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  • 1Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.


Elevated blood pressure (BP) in children is an early risk factor for cardiovascular disease and is positively associated with body mass index (BMI). However, BMI does not distinguish between fat and lean masses, and the relationship of BP in children to different elements of body composition is not well established. BP, BMI and body composition were measured in 6863 children enrolled in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Fat mass, lean mass and trunk fat were assessed using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. After full adjustment for confounders, total body fat and BMI were positively associated with systolic blood pressure (SBP) (beta=3.29, 95% confidence interval CI 3.02, 3.57 mm Hg/standard deviation (s.d.) and beta=3.97, 95% CI 3.73, 4.21 mm Hg/s.d., respectively) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) (beta=1.26, 95% CI 1.05, 1.46 mm Hg/s.d. and beta=1.37, 95% CI 1.19, 1.54 mm Hg/s.d., respectively). SBP was also positively associated with lean mass (beta=3.38, 95% CI 2.95, 3.81 mm Hg/s.d.), and weakly associated with trunk fat (beta=1.42, 95% CI -0.06, 2.90 mm Hg/s.d., independent of total fat mass), which was robust in girls only. The association between lean mass and SBP remained even after accounting for fat mass. SBP in 9-year-old children is independently associated with fat mass and lean mass and, to a lesser extent, trunk fat in girls. In this analysis, because both fat and lean masses are associated with BP, BMI predicts BP at least as well as these components of body composition.

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