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Birth weight and systolic blood pressure in adolescence and adulthood: meta-regression analysis of sex- and age-specific results from 20 Nordic studies.

Journal article
Authors Michael Gamborg
Liisa Byberg
Finn Rasmussen
Per Kragh Andersen
Jennifer L Baker
Calle Bengtsson
Dexter Canoy
Wenche Drøyvold
Johan G Eriksson
Tom Forsén
Ingibjörg Gunnarsdottir
Marjo-Riitta Järvelin
Ilona Koupil
Leif Lapidus
Tom I Nilsen
Sjurdur F Olsen
Lene Schack-Nielsen
Inga Thorsdottir
Tomi-Pekka Tuomainen
Thorkild I A Sørensen
Nordnet Study Group
Published in American journal of epidemiology
Volume 166
Issue 6
Pages 634-45
ISSN 0002-9262
Publication year 2007
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Institute of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine
Pages 634-45
Language en
Keywords birth weight; blood pressure; cardiovascular diseases; fetal development; growth; meta-analysis; publication bias; regression analysis
Subject categories Medical and Health Sciences


The authors investigated the shape, sex- and age-dependency, and possible confounding of the association between birth weight and systolic blood pressure (SBP) in 197,954 adults from 20 Nordic cohorts (birth years 1910-1987), one of which included 166,249 Swedish male conscripts. Random-effects meta-regression analyses were performed on estimates obtained from age- and sex-stratified analyses within each of the cohorts. There was an inverse association between birth weight and SBP, irrespective of adjustment for concurrent body mass index. The association was linear for males, but for females with a birth weight greater than 4 kg, SBP increased with birth weight (p < 0.01). The association was stronger in the older age groups (p < 0.05), although this could have been a birth cohort effect. The association was stronger among females than among males (p = 0.005) when birth weight was less than or equal to 4 kg. The estimated effect of birth weight on SBP at age 50 years was -1.52 mmHg/kg (95% confidence interval: -2.27, -0.77) in men and -2.80 mmHg/kg (95% confidence interval: -3.85, -1.76) in women. Exclusion of the Swedish conscripts produced nearly identical results. This meta-analysis supports the evidence of an inverse birth weight-SBP association, regardless of adjustment for concurrent body size. It also reveals important heterogeneity in the shape and strength of the association by sex and age.

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