Body mass and blood pressure in a lean population in South Western China

Jiang He, Michael J. Klag, Paul K. Whelton, Jun Yun Chen, Ming Chu Qian, Guan Qing He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Body mass has been consistently associated with blood pressure in acculturated populations but not in lean populations with low blood pressures. In southwestern China, in 1989, the authors studied the relation between body mass and blood pressure in three community-based random samples: rural Yi farmers (5,023 men, 3,218 women); Yi migrants (1,656 men, 919 women); and Han Chinese living in an urban setting (2,173 men, 1,516 women). The Yi farmers had virtually no obesity or hypertension and had little rise in blood pressure with age. The Yi migrants and Han had a steeper slope of blood pressure with age and consequently more hypertension. For men and women, respectively, mean body mass index (weight (kg)/height (m)2) was 20.6 and 21.0 in the Yi farmers, 21.3 and 21.4 in the Yi migrants, and 21.0 and 21.4 in the Han. Both systolic and diastolic blood pressure were positively related to body mass index in all six ethnicity-sex groups, and the association remained statistically significant after adjustment for age, heart rate, smoking, alcohol intake, and physical activity. The change in mean blood pressure for each kg/m2 increase in body mass index, after adjustment for community of residence, was 1.47 mmHg for systolic pressure and 1.13 mmHg for diastolic pressure. The association between body mass index and blood pressure was greater in men than in women and greater in Yi migrants and Han than in Yi farmers. The percentages of hypertension attributable to overweight (body mass index ≤25) among the Yifarmers, Yi migrants, and Han, respectively, were 4.1%, 34.1%, and 24.0% for men and 0%, 26.2%, and 28.9% for women. Thus, even in this lean Chinese population with a low mean blood pressure, body mass was positively and independently associated with increased blood pressure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)380-389
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 1994


  • Blood pressure
  • Body mass index
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Body mass and blood pressure in a lean population in South Western China'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this