They found that those who gained weight more rapidly in the first five months after birth and again from about age 2 to 5 were more likely to have high systolic blood pressure.
Immediate weight gain after birth also was linked to higher adult diastolic blood pressure, they found.
Systolic blood pressure is the pressure in the arteries while the heart contracts. Diastolic blood pressure is the pressure when the heart relaxes between beats.
"When trying to understand why some people get high blood pressure in later life, we need to consider a life course approach that considers early life as well as adult life risk factors such as dietary salt and obesity," Yoav Ben-Shlomo of the University of Bristol in Britain, who led the study published in the journal Hypertension, said in a statement.