Evid Based Nurs 1:57 doi:10.1136/ebn.1.2.57
  • Causation

Low birth weight was associated with non-fatal coronary artery disease and stroke in nurses


To determine if an association exists between birth weight and non-fatal cardiovascular disease in women who were nurses.


Cohort study of women in the Nurses' Health Study followed up every 2 years from 1976 to 1992.




70 297 women (mean age 42 y in 1976) born between 1921 and 1946, all registered nurses, who were free from coronary heart disease and stroke in 1976.

Assessment of risk factors

Women were grouped by their birth weight category: <2268 g (n=1392), 2268–2495 g (n=3549), >2495–3175 g (n=21 171), >3175–3856 g (n=31 216), >3856–4536 g (n=7723), or >4536 g (n=1638). 3608 women who were born prematurely were not included in the analysis. Postal questionnaires were used to gather data on past and current cardiovascular disease risk factors in 1976 and birth weight in 1992.

Main outcome measures

Data on non-fatal myocardial infarction (symptoms and either electrocardiographic changes or increased cardiac enzyme concentrations), coronary revascularisation (coronary artery bypass grafting or angioplasty), and non-fatal stroke (evidence of a typical neurological …

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