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The risk of hypertension among child brides and adolescent mothers at age 20 s, 30 s, and 40 s: Evidence from India

Abstract

Hypertension in reproductive age women, particularly in low-and-middle income countries (LMICs) is an area that is less explored. This study assesses the risk of hypertension in relation to two critical women’s health issues in the LMICs – child marriage and adolescent childbearing. The health consequences of these issues have been primarily studied in the context of reproductive health. There is a dearth of evidence on the long-term health outcomes associated with these early life events. The current study, by linking child marriage and adolescent motherhood with hypertension in young adult and early middle-aged women, is commensurate with the body of literature that examines the link between potentially early adversity and later life risk of chronic health outcomes. Using the most recent data on 582,358 women aged 20 to 49 years from India, this study examined whether child brides and adolescent mothers at age 20 s, 30 s, and 40 s had a higher risk of having hypertension compared to women who were not married before age 18 years or did not give birth by age 19 years in respective age groups. Estimating multivariable logistic regressions, we found that child brides and adolescent mothers were about 1.2 times more likely to have hypertension later in life. The elevated risk of hypertension among child brides and adolescent mothers were evident at every age group. These results were robust after controlling for various sociodemographic, anthropometric, and behavioral characteristics as well as across urban and rural, and poor and non-poor subgroups.

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Fig. 1: Prevalence of hypertension by age group and child marriage and adolescent childbearing.

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Data availability

The NFHS-5 data is publicly available from the USAID’s DHS Program website as follows: https://dhsprogram.com/data/.

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Funding

This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

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Authors

Contributions

BKD designed the study and performed empirical analysis. MRH and AT critically reviewed the results and developed the discussion points. MJ contributed to drafting the background section. All authors read and approved the final manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Biplab Kumar Datta.

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Ethical approval

The study used anonymized data from publicly available secondary source, and, therefore, ethics committee approval was not required. Participation in the survey was voluntary and informed consent was obtained prior interview. The survey protocols are reviewed and approved by the institutional review boards of the ICF and the International Institute for Population Sciences. Details of the ethical review of the NFHS-5 are available at: https://dhsprogram.com/Methodology/Protecting-the-Privacy-of-DHS-Survey-Respondents.cfm. The methods were carried out in accordance with the “U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regulations for the protection of human subjects” and relevant national guidelines.

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Datta, B.K., Haider, M.R., Tiwari, A. et al. The risk of hypertension among child brides and adolescent mothers at age 20 s, 30 s, and 40 s: Evidence from India. J Hum Hypertens 37, 568–575 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41371-022-00730-9

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