Professor Lawrie Beilin of the University of Western Australia in Perth and colleagues tracked 1,186 children from birth to age 14 for weight and blood pressure.
The study found the top 32 percent of the children with rapid weight gain from birth to age 14 experienced abnormal blood pressure had increased blood pressure detectable as early as age 3.
"By following this group of children from birth to adolescence, we have shown that increasing fatness in the early years, particularly the years from birth to age 3 were associated with higher blood pressure and cardiovascular risk later life," Beilin said in a statement. "If we could both reduce the number of overweight babies, and reduce amount of fat which children accumulate in early life, then we would see lower levels of risk for hypertension and diabetes, and other metabolic conditions."
The findings were presented at the European Society of Hypertension conference in London.