Influence of blood pressure and body mass index on retinal vascular caliber in preschool-aged children

B. Gopinath, J. J. Wang, A. Kifley, A. G. Tan, T. Y. Wong, P. Mitchell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


We assessed the associations between body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure (BP) with the retinal microvasculature among preschool-aged children. Three hundred and seventy-nine children aged 3–<6 years old had gradable retinal photographs, and quantifiable retinal vascular caliber using validated computer-based methods. Weight, height, BMI, waist circumference and BP were obtained using standardized protocols. Mean (±s.d.) BMI and systolic BP in preschool-aged children were 16.0 (±1.8) kg m−2 and 93.2 (±9.9) mm Hg, respectively. After multivariable adjustment, each kg m−2 increase in BMI was associated with a 1.06 μm narrowing of retinal arteriolar caliber (P=0.01) and 1.12 μm widening of retinal venular caliber (P=0.02). Children in the ⩾95th percentile (obese) compared with those in the <85th percentile (healthy weight) had narrower retinal arteriolar caliber (∼6.1 μm, Ptrend=0.01) and wider retinal venular caliber (∼6.4 μm, Ptrend=0.01). Each 10 mm Hg increase in systolic BP was associated with a 1.70 μm narrower retinal arteriolar caliber (multivariable-adjusted P=0.02). We show that BMI and systolic BP have inverse linear associations with retinal arteriolar caliber, and BMI has a positive linear association with retinal venular caliber during early childhood. These findings suggests that the influence of BP and BMI on small vessels are continuous and commence early in life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-528
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Human Hypertension
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • body mass index
  • blood pressure
  • children
  • retinal vascular caliber
  • Sydney pediatric eye disease study
  • waist


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