A new study shows that a simple modification to a child’s diet and exercise program can lower blood pressure.
The study also suggests that a diet low in saturated fat can lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
The findings are published online in the journal Circulation.
The study found that the modification of a childs diet, in addition to the standard health recommendations of eating fish and vegetables, can reduce the risk for the risk factors that are linked to high blood pressure in adults.
“We are not saying the modification works in all people, but it does reduce the chance that a child is going to have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease,” said study author Dr. David Hemenway, director of the Division of Metabolic and Cardiovascular Disease Research at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
“It does work.”
The study involved nearly 7,000 children aged 2 to 17 from the U.S. and Canada who were followed from birth until they were about 19 years old.
Each child’s blood pressure was measured every three months.
Researchers found that children who ate a high-saturated fat diet had significantly lower blood pressures compared to children who didn’t eat any saturated fat.
The children who did eat more vegetable oil had lower blood counts than those who didn, as well as lower levels of triglycerides, a type of fat that accumulates in the blood.
The researchers also found that eating more fruits and vegetables and taking a multivitamin, zinc supplements, and a calcium supplement reduced the risk that a person would develop high blood pressures, which are known to increase risk for developing heart disease and stroke.
“It is possible that children in the high-fat, high-carbohydrate, high protein, low-salt group of the diet have an extra boost to their blood pressure if they eat less saturated fat and lower total energy intake,” Hemenwell said.
“But we don’t know that yet.”
The researchers recommend that children consume the diet at least every two weeks.
They also recommend that they keep their diet moderate and keep a regular exercise routine.
“There’s no reason why a diet that promotes healthy eating and exercise can’t be beneficial to children,” said Dr. Amy Miller, associate professor of pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
“We’re not saying that there should be a diet for everybody.
But children are especially at risk of heart disease, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.”
Hemenway said that while the study was not designed to prove that the low-fat diet would have a benefit in lowering blood pressure, it does suggest that it could be a promising way to help children reduce their risk of the conditions.
“If you’re looking for a low-risk diet for children, this is a good strategy,” he said.
Dr. Sarah Gertz, director at the Institute for Health and Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, said that the findings provide some promising insights for children.
“They show a correlation between dietary fat intake and blood pressure,” Gerts said.
“These results are very encouraging, but they’re only one step in the direction of more research that’s looking at this type of intervention in kids.
It’s important that we don.
It takes some time to develop and test these interventions in children.
I hope this will give us some further clues into how to take these approaches for the adults, and how to get kids to eat more vegetables and reduce their sodium intake.”