- Weight and blood pressure (BP) are closely related. The aim of this study was to quantify this relationship and compare it to other factors in a population of relatively young adults, with particular focus on the possible role of gender. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of the Young Adult Periodic Examinations in Israel (YAPEIS) database of healthy people aged 25 to 45 years undergoing routine periodic examinations. Between 1991 and 1999, 38,558 subjects (88.1% men, mean age 36 +/- 8 years) were examined. The correlation between BP and weight was evaluated with adjustments for age, sex, physical activity, cigarette smoking, and fasting blood glucose levels. Blood pressure correlated positively with body mass index (BMI), spanning the spectrum of BMI values. Weight accounted for 8% to 10% of BP variance. The odds ratio for hypertension increased by 16% for each additional unit of BMI, compared to 6% for each year increase in age. The relative propensity of men toward hypertension, typical of this age group, was less pronounced at higher BMI values (male:female ratio = 2.2 at BMI <25 kg/m(2), and 1.28 at BMI > or =35 kg/m(2)). The association between BP and body weight is at least as strong as that between BP and age and is especially prominent in women.