Background: Low birth weight has been associated with adult hypertension in several Western populations. This association needs to be evaluated in Japanese people. Methods and Results: A population-based cross-sectional study of 3,107 subjects (2,303 males and 804 females) aged 35-66 years was conducted. The participants responded to a questionnaire about their birth weights, blood pressure, medical history, parental history, and lifestyle factors. Hypertension was defined as systolic blood pressure ≥140mmHg and/or diastolic blood pressure ≥90mmHg and/or under treatment by antihypertensives. Multiple logistic regression analysis adjusted for age, sex, body mass index, parental history, and lifestyle revealed the adjusted odds ratios for hypertension were 1.26 (95% confidence interval: 0.88-1.80), 1.00 (reference), 0.89 (0.73-1.08) and 0.70 (0.49-1.00) in subjects in birth weight categories of <2,500 g, 2,500-<3,000 g, 3,000-<3,500 g, 3,500-g, respectively (p-value for trend =0.009). Furthermore, this inverse association was clearly pronounced in normal-weight subjects. Conclusion: Low birth weight was independently associated with adult hypertension in the Japanese workplace population. Our results support the inverse association observed previously in Western populations and suggest that intrauterine environmental insults might lead to permanent changes in the metabolism and structure of the fetal organs influencing the regulation of blood pressure.
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