(HealthDay News) – Family living arrangements during childhood seem to have a long-term impact on blood pressure (BP) and the risk of hypertension among black men, according to a study published online Dec. 2 in Hypertension.

Debbie S. Barrington, PhD, MPH, from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD, and colleagues evaluated data from 515 unrelated black males (aged ≥20 years) participating in the Howard University Family Study (2001–2008) to determine whether childhood family living arrangements are independently associated with BP and hypertension.

The researchers found that, compared to men who never lived with both parents during their lifetime, men who lived with both parents had lower systolic BP, pulse pressure, and mean arterial BP (−4.4, −3.9, and −2mmHg, respectively). Among men who lived with both parents for one to 12 years of their lives, this protective effect was more pronounced, with larger decreases in systolic BP, pulse pressure, and mean arterial pressure (−6.5, −5.4, and −3.3mmHg, respectively), and significantly reduced odds of developing hypertension (odds ratio, 0.54). Living arrangements were not significantly associated with diastolic BP.

These results provide preliminary evidence that childhood family structure exerts a long-term influence on BP among black men,” the authors write.

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