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Circulation. 1996 Sep 15;94(6):1386-93.

Prospective randomized trial of low-saturated-fat, low-cholesterol diet during the first 3 years of life. The STRIP baby project.

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  • 1Cardiorespiratory Research Unit, University of Turku, Finland.



The long-term consequences of modified fat intake in early childhood are poorly known. The randomized prospective STRIP baby project evaluates the effects of repeated dietary counseling on nutrient intakes and serum lipid values in children 7 months to 3 years old.


One thousand sixty-two infants were randomized to intervention and control groups at 7 months of age. The families of the 540 intervention children were counseled to reduce the child's intake of saturated fat and cholesterol but to ensure adequate energy intake. Five hundred twenty-two control children consumed an unrestricted diet. Food records were kept, and serum lipids were measured at 5- to 12-month intervals. Intakes of saturated fat, fat as proportion of energy (E%), and cholesterol were lower in the intervention children than in control children at 13, 24, and 36 months of age. Fat intake by the intervention children decreased from 29 +/- 5 E% at 8 months of age to 26 +/- 6 E% at 13 months and then increased to 30 +/- 5 E% at 24 months and to 31 +/- 5 E% at 36 months. The control children consumed 29 +/- 4 E%, 28 +/- 5 E%, 33 +/- 5 E%, and 33 +/- 5 E% of fat at 8, 13, 24, and 36 months, respectively. The ratio of dietary poly-unsaturated to saturated fats of the intervention children was consistently higher than that of the control children (P < .0001). Baseline adjusted mean serum cholesterol concentration was lower in the intervention children than control children between 13 and 36 months (P < .0001; 95% confidence interval of the difference between the group means, -0.27 to -0.12 mmol/L). The effect was significant only in boys (95% confidence interval, -0.39 to -0.20 mmol/L in boys; -0.21 to 0.01 mmol/L in girls).


Repeated individualized dietary counseling markedly reduces the increase in serum cholesterol concentration that occurs in control children during the first years of life.

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