Explaining socioeconomic inequalities in childhood blood pressure and prehypertension: the ABCD study

Gerrit van den Berg, Manon van Eijsden, Francisca Galindo-Garre, Tanja G. M. Vrijkotte, Reinoud J. B. J. Gemke

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Much remains to be understood about the socioeconomic inequalities in hypertension that continue to exist. We investigated the association of socioeconomic status with blood pressure and prehypertension in childhood. In a prospective cohort, 3024 five- to six-year-old children had blood pressure measurements and available information on potential explanatory factors, namely birth weight, gestational age, smoking during pregnancy, pregnancy-induced hypertension, familial hypertension, maternal body mass index, breastfeeding duration, domestic tobacco exposure, and body mass index. The systolic and diastolic blood pressures of children from mid-educated women were 1.0-mm Hg higher (95% CI, 0.4-1.7) and 0.9-mm Hg higher (95% CI, 0.3-1.4), and the blood pressures of children with low-educated women were 2.2-mm Hg higher (95% CI, 1.4-3.0) and 1.7-mm Hg higher (95% CI, 1.1-2.4) compared with children with high-educated women. Children with mid- (odds ratio, 1.50; 95% CI, 1.18-1.92) or low-educated mothers (odds ratio, 1.80; 95% CI, 1.35-2.42) were more likely to have prehypertension compared with children with high-educated mothers. Using path analyses, birth weight, breastfeeding duration, and body mass index were determined as having a role in the association of maternal education with offspring blood pressure and prehypertension. The socioeconomic gradient in hypertension appears to emerge from childhood as the results show a higher blood pressure and more prehypertension in children from lower socioeconomic status families. Socioeconomic disparities could be reduced by improving 3 factors in particular, namely birth weight, breastfeeding duration, and body mass index, but other factors might also play a role
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-41
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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