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Association of birthweight with diabetes, hypertension, and ischemic heart disease in young adulthood: a retrospective cohort study


Birthweight has been associated with diabetes in a reverse J-shape (highest risk at low birthweight and moderately high risk at high birthweight) and inversely associated with hypertension in adulthood with inconsistent evidence for cardiovascular disease. There is a lack of population-based studies examining the incidence of cardiometabolic outcomes in young adults born with low and high birthweights. To evaluate the association between birthweight and diabetes, hypertension, and ischemic heart disease (IHD) in young adulthood, we conducted a retrospective cohort study of 874,904 singletons born in Ontario, Canada, from 1994 to 2002, identified from population-based health administrative data. Separate Cox regression models examined birthweight in association with diabetes, hypertension, and IHD adjusting for confounders. Among adults 18–26 years, the diabetes incidence rate was 18.15 per 100,000 person-years, hypertension was 15.80 per 100,000 person-years, and IHD was 1.85 per 100,000 person-years. Adjusted hazard ratios (AHR) for the hazard of diabetes with low (<2500g) and high (>4000g), compared with normal (2500–4000g) birthweight, were 1.46 (95% CI 1.28, 1.68) and 1.09 (0.99, 1.21), respectively. AHR for hypertension with low and high birthweight were 1.34 (1.15, 1.56) and 0.86 (0.77, 0.97), respectively. AHR for IHD with low and high birthweight were 1.28 (0.80, 2.05) and 0.97 (0.71, 1.33), respectively. Overall, birthweight was associated with diabetes in young adults in a reverse J-shape and inversely with hypertension. There was insufficient evidence of an association with IHD. Further evidence is needed to understand the causal mechanisms between birthweight and cardiometabolic diseases in young adults.



Yoshida-Montezuma Y, Keown-Stoneman CDG, Birken CS, Maguire JL, Brown HK, Anderson LN. J Dev Orig Health Dis. 2024; Jan 15 [Epub ahead of print].

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