Relationship between arterial elasticity and birth weight in Zambian children

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Mutiti, Anthony
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The objective of the study was to determine the effect of birth weight on blood pressure and arterial stiffness in childhood. This was a cross sectional retrospective study involving 143 children from low to medium income areas of Lusaka, aged from 5 to 8 years old with mean age 6.78 years. It was conducted in 2002 between October and December. The information of birth weight, which is an index of intra uterine growth, was obtained from the children's under five cards. Blood pressure and pulse wave velocities were then measured and compared with the birth weights. After adjusting for current weight, subjects in the lower birth weight category had the highest systolic blood pressure. A rise by 3.72mmHg (95% CI; 0.992-6.321) was observed for each kilogram decrease in the birth weight. The diastolic blood pressure was poorly associated with the birth weight. The association between the birth weight and the pulse wave velocity was not demonstrated in this study, though a weak but not statistically significant inverse relationship, was observed in the 8-year-old category All age groups had similar relationships; however the magnitude was highest in the older age category. In conclusion the study has shown that birth weight was strongly inversely related to the systolic blood pressure in Zambian children. This supports the hypothesis that intrauterine environment may partly determine the elastic properties of blood vessels.
Birth weight and blood pressure