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J Hum Nutr Diet. 2013 Dec;26(6):544-52. doi: 10.1111/jhn.12115. Epub 2013 Jul 2.

Impact of intrauterine and post-natal nutritional determinants on blood pressure at 4 years of age.

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Department of Paediatrics, University of Turku and Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland; Functional Foods Forum, University of Turku, Turku, Finland; Turku Health Centre, Turku, Finland.



To prospectively study how the early nutritional environment can programme blood pressure in a well-nourished population of children.


By means of multivariate modelling, we assessed whether gestational and post-natal dietary intakes and growth influence childhood blood pressure programming in a cohort of 109 healthy mother-child pairs. They had been followed from early pregnancy until the children reached 4 years of age. Dietary intakes were evaluated using 3-day food diaries. Blood pressure levels in the children were measured using an automated oscillometric DINAMAP ProCare 100 (Criticon, Tampa, FL, USA) at the age of 4 years.


In the final multivariate model, the predictor variables of childhood systolic blood pressure were maternal dietary carbohydrate and fat intake during pregnancy, as well as childhood weight and dietary fat intake at 4 years of age. Systolic blood pressure levels in the children were found to be positively associated with the maternal carbohydrate intake (P = 0.003), whereas blood pressure levels were lowest in children exposed to the middle tertile of maternal dietary fat intake during pregnancy (P = 0.003) and whose own dietary fat intake was in the middle tertile at the age of 4 years (P = 0.013). The model also showed that heavier children have a higher systolic blood pressure (P < 0.001). None of the maternal clinical characteristics fulfilled the criterion to be included in the model. The only determinant underlying childhood diastolic blood pressure was childhood weight at 4 years of age (r = 0.289, P = 0.026).


Interventions focusing on cardiovascular health in young women during pregnancy and their children should be considered to reduce cardiovascular diseases risk factors in these children.


blood pressure; child; diet; early origins of adult disease; pregnancy

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