walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Blood pressure and birth weight: how did I not know this?

Starting in the early to mid-1990s, there were studies showing a correlation between high blood pressure in middle age and low birth weight. These studies included meta-studies in the US, studies in South Africa, the UK and elsewhere. There are a lot of them. More recent examples discover Things We Knew, like, sometimes blood pressure measurements are rounded up or down, creating "buckets" rather than a smoother curve of "actual" measurements -- and it turns out that tends to weaken the finding.

I am utterly stunned that I did not know this. I really am. I've read a ridiculous amount about how prenatal and early childhood "program" our adult health status, about nutrition, about health measures such as blood pressure. And yet I didn't know about this one.

I feel like this may be one of those things that doesn't match a narrative (Fat Babies Make Fat Adults! Fat Adults Are Sick And Cost Us All Money! Pregnant Women Must Watch Their Weight!!!!) and thus hasn't gotten a lot of coverage, but maybe it's just One of Those Things.

I come from a family with a lot of ridiculously huge babies (almost all over 9 lbs, many over 10 lbs) who grow up to be large adults (in height, especially in shoe size, and overall as well -- women with broad shoulders, type of thing), yet persist in having normal or even low blood pressure. The few among us who are shorter and smaller in general are the ones who have high blood pressure, and they complain about the unfairness. Really makes you wonder.

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