Deakin University

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Impact of growth, gonadal hormones, adiposity and the sodium-to-potassium ratio on longitudinal adolescent measures of blood pressure at puberty

journal contribution
posted on 2023-02-06, 22:55 authored by HL Cheng, FL Garden, MR Skilton, C Johnson, J Webster, Carley GrimesCarley Grimes, RQ Ivers, KS Steinbeck
Blood pressure (BP) rises rapidly at puberty. While this is partly due to normal development, factors like excess adiposity and a high intake of dietary sodium relative to potassium may contribute to a true increase in hypertension risk. This study aimed to assess the relative impact of growth, gonadal hormones, adiposity and the sodium-to-potassium ratio (Na:K) on longitudinal BP measures at puberty. This study analysed data from a three-year longitudinal cohort study of pubertal adolescents. Anthropometry, body composition (bio-electrical impedance), serum testosterone and oestradiol (mass spectrometry) were measured annually. Na:K was measured from three-monthly urine samples. These variables were used to predict annual BP measures using mixed modelling and ordinal regression. Data from 325 adolescents (11.7 ± 1.0 y; 55% male) were analysed, showing typical growth patterns at puberty. Systolic BP increased over time in both sexes (p < 0.01), with boys exhibiting a significantly steeper rise compared to girls. Adiposity variables (BMI z-score, percent body fat, fat mass, waist-to-height ratio) strongly and consistently predicted systolic and diastolic BP in both sexes (all p < 0.05). Systolic BP was also significantly and positively related to height (p < 0.05). No associations with BP were identified in either sex for gonadal hormones or Na:K. Similar results were obtained when BP was classified into hypertension categories. Relative to other developmental and diet-related variables tested, adiposity was found to be the strongest most consistent predictor of BP in pubertal adolescents. Findings highlight the importance of dedicated youth obesity management interventions and policy measures for reducing long-term hypertension and cardiovascular disease risks. Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12617000964314.



Journal of Human Hypertension




Berlin, Germany







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal