Being Fit Lowers HTN Risk in Those With Parental History

Significantly lower risk of developing HTN for those with family history and high versus low fitness

MONDAY, May 14 (HealthDay News) -- Having a moderate or high level of fitness can attenuate the increased risk of developing hypertension due to parental history, according to a study published online May 14 in Hypertension.

To investigate the joint association of cardiorespiratory fitness and parental history of hypertension, Robin P. Shook, from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, and colleagues studied fitness and incident hypertension rates in 6,278 participants who underwent a preventative medical examination.

The researchers found that 33 percent of participants had a parental history of hypertension. After a mean of 4.7 years of follow-up, there were 1,545 cases of incident hypertension. After adjustment for confounding variables, the presence of parental hypertension was associated with a 20 to 28 percent higher risk of developing hypertension. Moderate and high levels of fitness were associated with a 26 and 42 percent, respectively, lower risk for developing hypertension, after adjusting for age, gender, and examination year. Individuals with a low level of fitness and a parental history of hypertension had a significantly higher risk (70 percent; P = 0.004) for developing hypertension compared with highly fit individuals with no parental history. For individuals with a high level of fitness and a parental history of hypertension the risk of developing hypertension was attenuated, but was still significant, compared with fit individuals with no parental history (16 percent; P = 0.03).

"The significantly lower risk of developing hypertension when progressing from low- to high-fit groups among those with a parental history of hypertension has important clinical implications," the authors write.

Coca-Cola partially funded the study; one author disclosed financial ties to the diet and fitness industry and to Coca-Cola.

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