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Comparison of Exercise-Induced Hypertension in Low Birth Weight and Normal Birth Weight Young Black Adults in Zimbabwe

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Aim: The objective of the study was to compare blood pressure changes during exercise between low and normal birth weight young Black adults.

Methods: Eighty medical students in their first and second year who had neonatal clinic cards as proof of birth weight were included in the study. Resting blood pressures and heart rates were recorded. Participants then underwent a multistage 9-minute exercise stress test while blood pressure responses were recorded at 3-minute intervals. The study was conducted in the Department of Physiology, University of Zimbabwe, College of Health Sciences, Harare, Zimbabwe.

Results: Of the 80 subjects recruited, 34 had low birth weight (LBW), 26 of these were female and 8 were male. The proportion of LBW individuals, 62% (n = 21), who developed exercise-induced hypertension (EIH) was significantly higher (p < 0.05) than the proportion of those with normal birth weight (NBW), 32% (n = 11). In addition to LBW being significantly associated with EIH (χ2 test p < 0.05, odds ratio 7.5) compared with NBW, the LBW group had a significantly higher (p < 0.05) and exaggerated systolic and diastolic response in stages I and II of the exercise protocol compared with the NBW group.

Conclusion: LBW was associated with EIH in these young Black adults.

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The authors wish to thank E. Nhandara for technical assistance and V. Chikwasha for statistical analysis. Kudakwashe E. Chakanyuka was funded by the Novel Education Clinical Trainees and Researchers (NECTAR) and Cerebrovascular, Heart failure, Rheumatic Heart diseases Interventions Strategy (CHRIS) MEPI Zimbabwe. The other authors were funded by the University of Zimbabwe College of Heath Sciences. The authors have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this article.

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Correspondence to Mr Jephat Chifamba.

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Chifamba, J., Chakanyuka, K.E., Longo-Mbenza, B. et al. Comparison of Exercise-Induced Hypertension in Low Birth Weight and Normal Birth Weight Young Black Adults in Zimbabwe. High Blood Press Cardiovasc Prev 19, 123–127 (2012).

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key words

  • low birth weight
  • exercise-induced hypertension
  • systolic and diastolic blood pressure response to exercise