Beyond Birth Weight: Alternate Ways of Representing How the Fetal Environment Relates to Adult Blood Pressure
Kenneth Bollen, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Shawn Bauldry, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Linda Adair, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The Developmental Origins of Adult Disease (DOHaD) paradigm holds that the prenatal environment affects not only birth outcomes, but also adult health outcomes. As DOHaD research has advanced it is a good time to critically examine often-used measures of fetal conditions and their performance in empirical research. In this study, we draw on data from the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Study to analyze different measures of fetal conditions and assess how well they predict young adult blood pressure and we compare individual measures to factor score approaches based on latent measures of fetal conditions to see what differences result. Overall, we find that factor scores improve the performance of fetal measures. Further, a latent variable, favorable fetal growth conditions, does well in predicting systolic blood pressure of males and females while a ponderal index is best at predicting diastolic blood pressure for males.