To examine the relationship between fasting plasma insulin and blood pressure (BP) in 40 urbanized normotensive South African black women aged 24–60 yr, and to assess the effects of body mass index (BMI) and fasting plasma glucose on BP.

Research Design and Methods

The women comprised equal numbers of young nonobese nondiabetic subjects, middle-aged nonobese nondiabetic subjects, middle-aged obese nondiabetic subjects, and middle-aged obese newly diagnosed non-insulin-dependent diabetic subjects. Systolic and diastolic BPs were recorded (in duplicate) after 15 min of recumbency, and fasting plasma glucose and insulin levels were determined thereafter. The data were analyzed by simple and multivariate regression.


There was a wide distribution of individual physical and biochemical features. With simple correlations, systolic BP correlated significantly with age, BMI, and fasting glucose but not with insulin. Diastolic BP correlated significantly with all four variables (r = 0.37, P <0.05). When adjusted for age, BMI, and glucose, however, the significant correlation between diastolic BP and insulin diminished (r = −0.04).


As in other nonwhite communities, plasma insulin does not appear to play a major role in regulating the BP of South African black women.

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