Breastfeeding may weaken the impact of overweight, obesity on blood pressure in kids
Regardless of birth weight, being obese at preschool age is associated with a greater risk of elevated blood pressure (EBP) during early childhood, a recent China study has found. A longer duration of breastfeeding appears to help mitigate such a risk.
Researchers conducted a cross-sectional investigation of 1,899 preschoolers aged 3–4 years old. A cuff monitor was used to measure BP at 1-minute intervals, and the average of three consecutive readings was recorded. EBP was defined as systolic and/or diastolic BP exceeding the age-, sex-, and height-specific 90th percentile value in Chinese children aged 3–17 years.
Those who were born with high birth weight saw a significantly higher risk of having EBP at preschool age, as compared with kids who were born with normal weight (odds ratio [OR], 2.04, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.14–3.65).
Similarly, those who were overweight (OR, 1.80, 95 percent CI, 1.16–2.81) and obese (OR, 2.84, 95 percent CI, 1.57–5.15) at preschool age were significantly more likely to have EBP. This effect was independent of birth weight.
Notably, for participants who were born with high birth weight, the risk of EBP at preschool age was attenuated if they became normal weight (OR, 1.70, 95 percent CI, 0.78–3.72).
In addition, researchers found that in those who were breastfed for a longer duration, the link between obesity status at preschool age and EBP was attenuated, regardless of birth weight. Particularly, those who were overweight/obese (OR, 1.39, 95 percent CI, 0.80–2.43) or had abdominal obesity (OR, 1.33, 95 percent CI, 0.72–2.44) at preschool age were not at a higher risk of EBP if they had been breastfed for >6 months.