AHA: Gaining Just 5 Pounds Can Raise Blood Pressure

Blood pressure increase specifically related to increases in abdominal visceral fat

THURSDAY, Sept. 11, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Even modest weight gain may elevate blood pressure in healthy individuals at normal weight, according to research being presented at the American Heart Association's High Blood Pressure Research Scientific Sessions, being held Sept. 9 to 12 in San Francisco.

Naima Covassin, Ph.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and colleagues randomly assigned healthy, normal-weight individuals to an eight-week period of overfeeding and weight gain (16 participants) or weight maintenance (10 participants). Blood pressure and changes in weight and regional fat distribution were monitored.

The researchers found that overfeeding caused weight gain of 3.7±1.5 kg with increases in total, visceral, and subcutaneous fat. At follow-up, increases in 24-hour systolic blood pressure (113.7±8 to 117.7±7.9 mmHg) and mean blood pressure (85.1±4.9 to 86.8±5.1 mmHg) were found in the weight gainers. No changes in body weight or blood pressure were observed in the maintenance group. Changes in mean blood pressure were positively correlated with changes in visceral fat but not changes in weight or body composition.

"To our knowledge, for the first time, we showed that the blood pressure increase was specifically related to increases in abdominal visceral fat, which is the fat inside the abdomen," one of the authors said in a statement. "Our research suggests that healthy people who are more likely to gain weight in the stomach area are also more likely to have their blood pressure increased."

One of the authors reported financial ties to pharmaceutical and biomedical companies.

More Information

Physician's Briefing