Low birth weight has been associated with an increased risk of hypertension, and high birth weight has been associated with increased adult body mass index. Published studies on adults have included only a small number of women.We studied 71 100 women in the Nurses Health Study I (NHS I) who were 30 to 55 years of age in 1976 and 92 940 women in the Nurses' Health Study II (NHS II) who were 25 to 42 years of age in 1989. Information on birth weight, blood pressure, physician-diagnosed hypertension, and other relevant variables was collected by biennial mailed questionnaire. Ninety-five percent of the women were white. Compared with women in the middle category of birth weight (NHS I, 7.1 to 8.5 lb; NHS II, 7.0 to 8.4 lb), the age-adjusted odds ratio of hypertension in NHS I women with birth weights < 5.0 lb was 1.39 (95% CI, 1.29 to 1.50); in NHS II, for birth weights < 5.5 lb, the age-adjusted odds ratio was 1.43 (95% CI, 1.31 to 1.56). There was no material change in the estimates after adjustment for other risk factors. In addition, compared with women in NHS I who weighed 7.1 to 8.5 lb at birth, those who weighed > 10 lb had an age-adjusted odds ratio of 1.62 (95% CI, 1.38 to 1.90) of being in the highest (> 29.2 kg/m2) versus the lowest (< 21.9 kg/ m2) quintile of body mass index in midlife. Similar results were seen in the NHS II cohort.Early life exposures affecting birth weight may be important in the development of hypertension and obesity in adults.
View details for Web of Science ID A1996VG35000025
View details for PubMedID 8822985