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Hypertension. 1991 Nov;18(5):598-606.

Risk factors for hypertension in a national cohort study.

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Division of Diabetes Translation, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Ga 30333.


Hypertension continues to be a major public health problem in the United States. We used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Epidemiologic Followup Study (1971-1984) to examine predictors of hypertension for the 7,073 participants free from hypertension at the baseline examination. The follow-up period averaged 10 years. Body mass index was positively related to the probability of hypertension developing among white men (n = 2,370), white women (n = 3,949), black men (n = 231), and black women (n = 523). Education was inversely associated with the probability of hypertension developing among white women and was of borderline significance among white men and black women. In a subanalysis of white men (n = 1,790) and white women (n = 3,063) who completed the 24-hour recall dietary questionnaire, dietary consumption of sodium, calcium, and potassium did not predict the development of hypertension. The failure of our study to support findings relating intake of dietary cations to the development of hypertension may be attributable to imprecision in the measurement of dietary data and misclassification of hypertension status. These data reinforce the importance of weight control in the primary prevention of hypertension.

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