Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the effect of growth pattern on blood pressure changes in an adolescent population of African ancestry based on longitudinal data and to compare this with estimates derived from cross-sectional data.
Methods: Participants had measurements of weight, height, blood pressure and percentage body fat taken annually using standardized procedures. Annual blood pressure and anthropometry velocities as well as one- and three-year interval gender specific tracking coefficients were computed. We investigated whether changes in blood pressure could be explained by measures of growth using a multilevel mixed regression approach.
Results: The results showed that systolic blood pressure (SBP) increased by 1.27 and 3.09 mmHg per year among females and males, respectively. Similarly, diastolic blood pressure (DBP) increased by 1.16 and 1.92 mmHg per year among females and males, respectively. Multilevel analyses suggested that weight, body mass index, percentage body fat and height were the strongest anthropometric determinants of blood pressure change in this population. The results also suggest that there are gender differences in the relative importance of these anthropometric measures with height playing a minor role in predicting blood pressure changes among adolescent females. With the exception of DBP at 18 years among females, there were no significant differences between mean blood pressure generated from cross-sectional and longitudinal data by age in both males and females.
Conclusion: Anthropometric measures are important covariates of age-related blood pressure changes and cross-sectional data may provide a more cost-effective and useful proxy for generating age-related blood pressure estimates in this population.