Associations between height and blood pressure in the United States population

Brianna Bourgeois, Krista Watts, Diana M. Thomas, Owen Carmichael, Frank B. Hu, Moonseong Heo, John E. Hall, Steven B. Heymsfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The mechanisms linking short stature with an increase in cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease risk remain elusive. This study tested the hypothesis that significant associations are present between height and blood pressure in a representative sample of the US adult population. Participants were 12,988 men and women from a multiethnic sample (age ≥ 18 years) evaluated in the 1999 to 2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey who were not taking antihypertensive medications and who had complete height, weight, % body fat, and systolic and diastolic arterial blood pressure (SBP and DBP) measurements; mean arterial blood pressure and pulse pressure (MBP and PP) were calculated. Multiple regression models for men and women were developed with each blood pressure as dependent variable and height, age, race/ethnicity, body mass index, % body fat, socioeconomic status, activity level, and smoking history as potential independent variables. Greater height was associated with significantly lower SBP and PP, and higher DBP (all P < .001) in combined race/ethnic-sex group models beginning in the 4th decade. Predicted blood pressure differences between people who are short and tall increased thereafter with greater age except for MBP. Socioeconomic status, activity level, and smoking history did not consistently contribute to blood pressure prediction models. Height-associated blood pressure effects were present in US adults who appeared in the 4th decade and increased in magnitude with greater age thereafter. These observations, in the largest and most diverse population sample evaluated to date, provide support for postulated mechanisms linking adult stature with cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere9233
JournalMedicine (United States)
Issue number50
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


  • Body composition
  • Body mass index
  • Heart disease
  • Hemodynamic
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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