Vitamin D Deficiency at Birth Leads to Higher SBP Later

Individuals who have vitamin D deficiency from birth to early childhood may have an increased risk for elevated systolic blood pressure (BP) in their later childhood and adolescent years, according to a new study.1

To analyze the association between vitamin D trajectory through early life and systolic BP in childhood, the researchers conducted a prospective birth cohort study at the Boston Medical Center that included 775 participants. The participants were enrolled from their birth in 2005 to 2012 and followed until they reached age 18 years.


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Most participants lived in a low-income, urban area, and 68% of them were African American.2

Persistent low vitamin D status was defined as plasma 25(OH)D less than 11 ng/mL at birth and less than 25 ng/mL in early childhood.

Compared with participants who had adequate vitamin D levels, the researchers found that those with a low vitamin D status at birth had a higher risk for elevated systolic BP (≥75th percentile) at ages 3 to 18 years. And those who had a low vitamin D status in early childhood were 1.59 times more likely to have elevated systolic BP at ages 6 to 18 years.

Participants who had persistently low levels of vitamin D from birth to early childhood were twice as likely to have elevated systolic BP at ages 3 to 18 years.2

“Our findings will help inform future clinical and public health strategies for vitamin D screening and supplementation in pregnancy and childhood to prevent or reduce risk of elevated BP across the lifespan and generations,” the researchers concluded.

—Colleen Murphy


  1. 1. Wang G, Liu X, Bartell TR, Pearson C, Cheng TL, Wang X. Vitamin D trajectories from birth to early childhood and elevated systolic blood pressure during childhood and adolescence [published online July 1, 2019]. Hypertension.
  2. 2. Low vitamin D at birth raises risk of higher blood pressure in kids [press release]. Dallas, TX: American Heart Association; July 1, 2019. Accessed July 1, 2019.