The relation between birth weight and hypertension. A study among Danish nurses


The fetal origin hypothesis suggests that birth weight is related to several adult diseases. One hypothesis is that low birth weight is associated with increased risk of hypertension. ADDIN RW.CITE{{119 Barker,D.J. 2009}}In the present study we analyzed the association between self-reported birth weight and risk of hypertension with detailed confounder control, and the modification on this association by familial obesity and own weight history during childhood and youth. Methods: In 1999 the Danish Nurse Cohort study included 31,642 females aged 44 years or more of whom 76% replied to questions on birth weight, weight history, familial obesity disposition, parents socioeconomic status and presence of hypertension. Results: In total 14% reported birth weights below 3000 g. The univariate hazard ratio of hypertension for those born with birth weight < 3000 g was 1.24 (95% CI (1.13 - 1.36)) compared to those with birth weight > 3000 g. The association remained stable after adjustment for important confounders, as lifestyle, weight history and socioeconomic status during upbringing. Conclusion: Our results support the hypothesis that low birth weight is associated with hypertension in adult life, also after considering several confounding factors and weight history later in life. Furthermore, the previous weight history might have an influence on the association between birth weight and the risk for adult hypertension.

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Virkus, R. , Heitmann, B. , Obel, E. , Bergholt, T. and Løkkegaard, E. (2013) The relation between birth weight and hypertension. A study among Danish nurses. Health, 5, 16-22. doi: 10.4236/health.2013.54A003.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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