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Pediatrics. 1989 Oct;84(4):633-41.

Childhood risk factors for high adult blood pressure: the Muscatine Study.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Iowa, Iowa City.


In adult populations, elevated blood pressure is related to the development of occlusive atherosclerosis, stroke, and renal disease. The significance of blood pressure levels in childhood, unless extremely elevated, has not been related to disease outcomes. In this study, the risk of high blood pressure in young adult life is evaluated based on the observations of blood pressure and other factors made during the school-aged years. Subjects, 2445 in number, were first observed at ages 7 through 18 years and again between 20 and 30 years. During childhood, measurements of blood pressure, height, and weight were made in alternate years. At adult ages, the same measurements were again made and a health questionnaire was administered. According to the data, adult blood pressure is correlated with childhood blood pressure, body size, and change in ponderosity from childhood to adult life. Adult ponderosity is related to childhood ponderosity, and those who are most obese as adults show the greatest increase in weight for height from their childhood years. These observations suggest that strategies to prevent the acquisition of excess ponderosity during adolescence may be useful in preventing adult hypertension.

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