Objective(s): High blood pressure is a well-known risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Blood pressure exerts already an influence in childhood and shows moderate tracking from childhood to adulthood. Variances in blood pressure levels are affected by both lifestyle and genetics. The purpose of this review was to summarize the current literature on influences on blood pressure early in life. Methods: A search in Pubmed was conducted to collect relevant studies. Combinations of 53 search terms and 18 Mesh terms related to children, blood pressure, measurement methods, genetics, early life growth, infant feeding and abdominal fat were compiled. Results & Discussion: Blood pressure measurements in various postures lead to different blood pressure values, but current literature focused on sitting blood pressure values. First, a small variance in blood pressure is explained by genetic variations. Second, accelerated weight gain during infancy and childhood results in higher systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Even as reduced infancy weight gain followed by reduced or accelerated childhood weight gain leads to a higher risk of hypertension later in life. Third, breastfeeding leads to a lower childhood systolic blood pressure, which is particularly detected in people who had been breastfed for at least 2 months. Fourth, higher contents of visceral abdominal tissue and subcutaneous abdominal tissue lead to higher systolic blood pressure in children. Conclusion: Genetic variations, early life growth, breastfeeding, and abdominal fat lead to small variations in blood pressure levels already during childhood
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