Body Mass Index and Risk of Incident Hypertension Over the Life Course

AHA: 11/14/12

Background—The obesity-hypertension link over the life course has not been well characterized, although the prevalence of obesity and hypertension is increasing in the United States.

Methods and Results—We studied the association of body mass index (BMI) in young adulthood, into middle age, and through late life with risk of developing hypertension in 1132 white men of The Johns Hopkins Precursors Study, a prospective cohort study.

Over a median follow-up period of 46 years, 508 men developed hypertension. Obesity (BMI ≥30 kg/m2) in young adulthood was strongly associated with incident hypertension (hazard ratio, 4.17; 95% confidence interval, 2.34–7.42). Overweight (BMI 25 to <30 kg/m2) also signaled increased risk (hazard ratio, 1.58; 95% confidence interval, 1.28–1.96). Men of normal weight at age 25 years who became overweight or obese at age 45 years were at increased risk compared with men of normal weight at both times (hazard ratio, 1.57; 95% confidence interval, 1.20–2.07), but not men who were overweight or obese at age 25 years who returned to normal weight at age 45 years (hazard ratio, 0.91; 95% confidence interval, 0.43–1.92). Read More