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Childhood blood pressure: The influence of fetal and childhood factors

Taylor, Stephanie J. C.; (2002) Childhood blood pressure: The influence of fetal and childhood factors. Doctoral thesis (M.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Background: The 'fetal origins' hypothesis suggests raised blood pressure may arise from adverse events associated with impaired growth when the individual was in utero. Understanding the determinants of childhood blood pressure may have implications for the primary prevention of adult cardiovascular disease. Aims: To examine the influence of both current and early life factors (including size at birth, maternal antenatal blood pressure and maternal smoking during pregnancy) on the level of childhood blood pressure and on blood pressure change during childhood. Methods: A mixed longitudinal, school based survey of children from ten towns in England and Wales. The thesis uses cross-sectional data collected from the 1994 survey on 3,724 children aged 8-11 years, and longitudinal data from the 1990 and 1994 surveys on 2,322 children between the ages of 5-7 years and 9-11 years. Results: Current body size was the most important determinant of blood pressure at age 8-11 and change in ponderal index was the most important determinant of blood pressure change between 5-7 and 9-11 years. Birth weight was inversely associated with systolic blood pressure at 8-11 after adjustment for current body size. An unexplained sex difference was seen in this association - the inverse association was concentrated in the girls and attenuated or absent in the boys. Placental weight and other measures of size at birth, apart from head circumference, were not consistently associated with blood pressure in either sex. The association between birth weight and blood pressure was not explained by maternal antenatal hypertension. Maternal smoking during pregnancy did not influence childhood blood pressure at 8-11 years. Conclusions: Childhood adiposity has the strongest influence on childhood blood pressure. Although small size at birth is inversely related to childhood blood pressure, the magnitude of this effect is small.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: M.D
Title: Childhood blood pressure: The influence of fetal and childhood factors
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Biological sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10107268
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