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We aimed to investigate life-course factors associated with blood pressure (BP) among Ugandan adolescents. Between 9th April 2003 and 24th November 2005, 2507 pregnant women from Entebbe municipality and Katabi sub-county were enrolled into a deworming trial. The resulting 2345 live-born offspring were followed to age 10 or 11 years, when between 20th May 2014 to 16th June 2016, BP was measured following standard protocols. Factors associated with BP were assessed using multivariable linear regression. BP was measured in 1119 adolescents with a median age of 10.2 years. Mean systolic BP and diastolic BP was 105.9 mmHg (standard deviation (SD) 8.2) and 65.2 mmHg (SD 7.3), respectively. Maternal gestational body mass index (BMI), higher maternal education status and family history of hypertension were positively associated with adolescent BP. Childhood (age ≤5 years) malaria was associated with lower adolescent systolic BP. Factors measured at time of BP measurement positively associated with systolic BP were age, BMI, waist circumference and Trichuris trichiura (whipworm) infection; higher vegetable consumption was associated with lower systolic BP. Results for diastolic BP were similar, except higher fruit, rather than higher vegetable consumption was associated with lower diastolic BP and there was no association with waist circumference or Trichuris trichiura infection. In summary, life-course exposures were associated with adolescent BP in this tropical birth cohort. Malaria early in life could impact later BP. Interventions initiated early in life targeting individuals with family history of hypertension, aiming to reduce adiposity (in pregnancy and adolescence) and promoting fruit and vegetable consumption might contribute to reducing the risk of high BP and subsequent cardiovascular diseases.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of human hypertension

Publication Date





679 - 692


London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London, WC1E 7HT, UK.