The association between time since last meal and blood pressure in older adults: The cardiovascular health study

Nicholas L. Smith, Bruce M. Psaty, Gale H. Rutan, Thomas Lumley, David Yanez, Paulo H.M. Chaves, Richard A. Kronmal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To demonstrate a postprandial hypotensive (PPH) phenomenon in older adults. DESIGN: Observational, prospective cohort study composed of baseline and nine follow-up visits. SETTING: Cardiovascular Health Study, an epidemiological study of risk factors for cardiovascular disease in older adults. PARTICIPANTS: Five thousand eight hundred eighty-eight community-dwelling adults aged 65 and older. MEASUREMENTS: Blood pressure and time since last meal were recorded synchronously at baseline and at follow-up clinic visits. Generalized estimating equations were used to estimate associations between time since last meal and blood pressure and to adjust variance estimates to account for repeated blood pressure measures within subjects across fasting times. RESULTS: Mean systolic and diastolic blood pressures were lower in the first hour after the last meal and were progressively higher through the fourth hour after the last meal than blood pressures measured immediately after the last meal (0 hour: 133.7/68.8 mmHg; 1st hour: 130.1/66.6 mmHg; 4th hour: 136.5/71.1 mmHg). Changes were significant for systolic and diastolic measures (P < .001 for both). Exploratory analyses suggested that the systolic PPH association was more pronounced in women. Little evidence was found that the degree of systolic or diastolic PPH varied by age, race, prevalent cardiovascular disease, heart rate, ejection fraction, treated hypertension or diabetes mellitus, or body mass index. CONCLUSION: These data support previous observations that there is a significant drop in blood pressure within 1 hour after a meal in older adults. Time since last meal may be an important factor to consider when measuring blood pressure in older adults, and perhaps national standards need to be set.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)824-828
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Blood pressure
  • Elderly
  • Epidemiology
  • Fasting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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