Exercise and blood Pressure Study Oxfordshire (ExPresSO)
The Exercise and Blood Pressure Study Oxfordshire invited young adults (18-40 years old) born at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford to provide measures of blood pressure, physical activity and give details on their lifestyle.
High Blood Pressure is a common problem with 1 in 4 of the adult population developing high blood pressure. The likelihood of developing high blood pressure increases with age but for some people high blood pressure develops early during their 20’s and 30’s.
Understanding the factors contributing to high blood pressure and identifying individuals at risk is important so that we can reduce the risks of heart disease and stroke in later life.
The Exercise and Blood Pressure Study Oxfordshire invited young adults (18-40 years old) born at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford to provide measures of blood pressure, physical activity and give details on their lifestyle. The unique recruitment method, using historical birth and maternity records to identify potential participants allowed our research team to explore the relationships between birth history and future blood pressure.
We were specifically interested in understanding more about the influence of preterm birth, being born before 37 weeks of pregnancy, on future blood pressure. A number of European and North American research studies report that blood pressure is higher in young people who were born prematurely compared to those delivered following uncomplicated pregnancies after 37 weeks.
Using the results from ExPresSO we hoped to be able to contribute to improving cardiovascular risk reduction in young adult populations including strategies to increase physical activity and reduce blood pressure.
We recruited 600 participants aged between 18 and 40 years old. Potential participants identified from the John Radcliffe Hospital records were sent a study letter inviting them to take part in the study. The study team then contacted interested individuals to check eligibility for the study and arrange a study visit.
Study visits took place in the Cardiovascular Clinical Research Facility, John Radcliffe Hospital. The full study visit took approximately 60 minutes. During this time participants completed the study consent process, completed the study questionnaire which included questions on alcohol consumption, diet, smoking, family medical history and factors influencing physical activity choices. Recordings of participant blood pressure were made and participants were asked to provide a sample of blood. The study visit finished with participants being provided with a wrist worn activity tracker to wear for 9 days. Similar to a wrist watch the device uses an accelerometer to provide a measure of daily physical activity.
The study was supported with funding from the British Heart Foundation
Ethical Approval was provided following review by the South Central Oxford A Research Ethics Committee (Reference 14/SC/0281)