Indexed on: 13 Oct '04Published on: 13 Oct '04Published in: Circulation
We examined the associations of a range of parental and early life characteristics with systolic blood pressure at 5 years of age.Information from 3864 children who were followed up prospectively from their mother's first antenatal clinic assessment was used. Maternal age, body mass index, and smoking during pregnancy were all positively associated with offspring systolic blood pressure at 5 years of age. The systolic blood pressure of children whose mothers had smoked throughout pregnancy was on average 0.92 mm Hg (95% CI 0.17 to 1.68) greater than that of children whose mothers had never smoked, after full adjustment. Children who had been breast fed until at least 6 months had lower systolic blood pressure than those who were breast fed for a shorter duration. Paternal body mass index and child's weight, height, and body mass index were all positively associated with blood pressure at age 5.Because childhood blood pressure tracks into adulthood, interventions aimed at early life risk factors, such as quitting smoking during pregnancy, breast feeding, and prevention of obesity in all family members, may be important for reducing the population distribution of blood pressure and thus cardiovascular disease risk.