Adapted from Zhang Y et al. Frontiers of Cardiovascular Medicine 1 Jan 2021
Just under two hundred thousand participants in the UK Biobank with data on birth weight were studied. Researchers looked at the correlation between birth weight and hypertension as adults. They also looked at the patients’ obesity indexes.
They found that the lower a baby’s birth weight, the higher the risk for hypertension as an adult. The highest risk was for babies under 2.88kg which is 6 pounds 2 oz.
When it came to adult obesity and hypertension risk, those with a BMI of over 30 were at the highest risk.
This is a lot of babies and adults!
They think that a birth weight of between 3.43 kg and 3.80 kg is the most healthy. This is between 7lbs 5 oz and 8 lbs 4 oz.
We can’t really choose our birthweight, but we can do something about our weight as adults, so you will be pleased to see that adult BMI was a lot more influential in producing hypertension than low birth weight.
My comment: I was only 2 pounds 3 oz when I was born, so I was very pleased to make it past babyhood at all. The association between low birth weight and hypertension and metabolic syndrome in adulthood has been studied for many years. Factors that make the baby more likely to survive placental failure unfortunately programme the body to respond less favourably in adulthood.