Prevent Hypertension Early

MARCH 01, 2005

Children may benefit from diets rich in fruit, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products to help lower blood pressure. The study followed children, initially aged 3 to 6 years, in the Framingham Children's Study for 8 years. The families were asked to keep records periodically of what children ate, and blood pressure readings for the children were taken every year.

Reporting in Epidemiology (January 2005), the researchers found that children who consumed 4 or more servings of fruit or vegetables a day and 2 or more servings of dairy products showed smaller gains in systolic pressure. Fewer differences were found in diastolic pressure. The researchers concluded that children who consumed the most from all 3 groups benefited greatly. The children who consumed more of only 1 group had more modest benefits. The investigators said that paying attention to what children eat at a young age can have a positive effect in decreasing the odds of hypertension as they get older.