BMI, Blood Pressure Strongly Linked Across Diverse Subgroups in China

The association was less robust among people taking antihypertensive drugs, suggesting a chance to mitigate the obesity epidemic’s effect on CV health.

The well-known link between body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure was further tightened last week, when a cross-sectional study of 1.7 million Chinese individuals showed the relationship is consistent across an array of more than 22,000 subgroups and apparent even at BMI levels that fall short of obesity.

Factors such as age, sex, ethnicity, occupation, household income, residency status, education, and geographic location made no difference, according to the findings published online in JAMA Network Open.

Previous analyses of the same data set, from the China PEACE Million Persons Project, captured the scope of hypertension in the rapidly changing nation. Fewer than half of those with high blood pressure even knew they had the condition. Only 30.1% of hypertensive individuals were taking BP-lowering drugs, with control achieved in just 7.2%.

For the latest study, the goal was to “characterize the relationship between BMI and blood pressure. The fact that this is a very strong relationship has been studied in the past,” lead author George C. Linderman, BS (Yale New Haven Hospital, CT), noted in an interview with TCTMD. “Going into this, we knew that there is this relationship. But what was not so clear was how [it] would change among different groups.”

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