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J Pediatr. 2008 Jan;152(1):79-84, 84.e1-2. Epub 2007 Oct 24.

Evidence of infant blood pressure programming by maternal nutrition during pregnancy: a prospective randomized controlled intervention study.

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  • 1Functional Foods Forum, Department of Pediatrics, University of Turku, Turku, Finland. jmaalt@utu.fi



To evaluate the impact of maternal nutrition during pregnancy on infant blood pressure.


Pregnant women (n = 256) were randomized into 3 groups: modified dietary intake according to current recommendations and probiotics (diet/probiotics), placebo (diet/placebo), and a control/placebo group. In the infants born to these women, blood pressure was recorded at age 6 months using an automated oscillometric DINAMAP R.


Despite significant differences in maternal dietary intakes between the study groups, the intervention focusing on maternal fat intake showed no direct impact on infants' blood pressure. Instead, a complex U-shaped interrelationship was uncovered; the highest and lowest quartiles of intakes of specific nutrients, carbohydrate (P = .006 for systolic pressure and P = .015 for diastolic pressure), and monounsaturated fatty acids (P = .029 for diastolic pressure) compared with the middle quartiles resulted in higher blood pressure at age 6 months. The pattern between maternal carbohydrate intake during pregnancy and infants' blood pressure remained significant even after adjustment for breastfeeding and body length. A reverse U-shaped trend again was observed between maternal intake of fruits and infants' systolic blood pressure (P = .077).


With a view toward programming blood pressure to adulthood, our results suggest an opportunity for dietary counseling to promote child health.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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