Diet Affects Adult
Child's Blood Pressure
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Pregnant women who consume a diet
rich in protein and low in carbohydrates may be putting their
children at risk of high blood pressure decades later, UK researchers
Their study tracked 626 men and women whose mothers had been
advised to eat 1 pound of red meat daily and to avoid foods rich
in carbohydrates during pregnancy. This diet was recommended at
the time as a way to prevent pre-eclampsia, a potentially serious
condition in pregnancy marked by elevated blood pressure. The
investigators followed the men and women from birth to age 27
Women who reported the highest intakes of meat and fish during
the second half of their pregnancies were more likely to have
children who developed elevated systolic blood pressure, the top
number of a reading, as adults. Mothers who consumed the most
fish were more likely to have children who developed high diastolic
pressure, the bottom number of a reading. A mother's blood pressure,
smoking habits and body size did not influence the associations,
the researchers report in a recent issue of Hypertension: Journal
of the American Heart Association.
Dr. Alistair W. Shiell of the University of Southampton in the
UK and colleagues report that the higher blood pressures found
among adults whose mothers consumed high amounts of protein in
pregnancy could translate into elevated death rates from heart
``A dietary intervention in which pregnant women increased their
consumption of meat and reduced their consumption of carbohydrate-rich
foods resulted in elevation of their offspring's blood pressure
during adult life,'' Shiell and colleagues write.
According to the report, consuming large amounts of protein during
pregnancy can stress the metabolism of both mother and fetus,
who respond with elevated blood pressure.
``These associations may reflect the metabolic stress imposed
on the mother by an unbalanced diet in which high intakes of essential
amino acids are not accompanied by the nutrients required to utilize
them,'' the authors explain.
However, the mothers' intakes of saturated fat and salt may also
have contributed to the risk of high blood pressure in adult offspring,
the report indicates. The high-protein diet that the women followed
recommended that they snack on corned-beef between meals; eat
moderate amounts of fish, eggs and cheese; consume only two servings
of green vegetables daily; and drink no more than one-half pint
of milk daily.
The advice led to an increase in overall protein intake--about
24% of total calories--and a reduction in energy to just over
1,400 calories daily. The expectant mothers gained less weight
than average, and had babies with low birth weights. Low maternal
weight gain, several studies have shown, is associated with a
child's likelihood of developing heart disease and risk factors
for heart disease later in life.
SOURCE: Hypertension 2001;38:1282-1288.
Reference Source 89