Blood pressure in young adulthood and residential greenness in the early-life environment of twins

Esmee M. Bijnens, Tim S. Nawrot*, Ruth J. F. Loos, Marij Gielen, Robert Vlietinck, Catherine Derom, Maurice P. Zeegers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Previous research shows that, besides risk factors in adult life, the early-life environment can influence blood pressure and hypertension in adults. However, the effects of residential traffic exposure and residential greenness in the early-life on blood pressure in young adulthood are currently unknown.

Methods: Ambulatory (24-h) blood pressures of 278 twins (132 pairs) of the East Flanders Prospective Twins Study were obtained at the age of 18 to 25 years. Prenatal and adulthood residential addresses were geocoded and used to assign prenatal and postnatal traffic and greenness indicators. Mixed modelling was performed to investigate blood pressure in association with greenness while adjusting for potential confounding factors.

Results: Night-time systolic blood pressure was inversely associated with greenness at the residential address in twins living at the same address their entire life (non-movers, n = 97, 34.9%). An interquartile increase in residential greenness exposure (1000 m radius) was associated with a 3.59 mmHg (95% CI: -6.0 to -1.23; p = 0.005) lower adult night systolic blood pressure. Among twins who were living at a different address than their birth address at time of the measurement (n = 181, 65.1%), night-time blood pressure was inversely associated with residential surrounding greenness at adult age as well as with residential greenness in early-life. However after additional adjustment for residential greenness exposure in adulthood, only residential greenness exposure in early-life was significantly associated with night systolic blood pressure. While no significant effect of adult residential greenness with adult blood pressure was observed, while accounting for the early-life greenness exposure.

Conclusions: Lower residential greenness in the early-life environment was independently associated with a higher adult blood pressure. This indicates that residential greenness has persistent effects on blood pressure.

Original languageEnglish
Article number53
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Health
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2017


  • Blood pressure
  • Greenness
  • Early-life environment


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