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Childhood Malnutrition May Lead to High Blood Pressure in Adulthood

by Sasikala Radhakrishnan on July 2, 2014 at 12:32 PM
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 Childhood Malnutrition May Lead to High Blood Pressure in Adulthood

Children who have to endure malnutrition are likely to end up with high blood pressure in adulthood, claims a study carried out by researchers at the University of the West Indies, Mona.

The study discloses insufficient nourishment before birth and up to 5 years may lead to higher diastolic blood pressure, higher peripheral resistance and poor heart function during adulthood.

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Researchers compared 116 Jamaican adults who had to experience malnutrition and lack of healthy sustenance with 45 adults who were sufficiently fed in childhood.

The parameters of height, weight and blood pressure levels of the participants were recorded, and echocardiograms and other imaging tests to assess their heart function were also carried out.
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All participants belonged to 20-30 age group.

The study findings revealed when compared to adequately fed adults, Jamaican adults who had to endure malnourishment in childhood showed higher diastolic blood pressure readings, higher resistance to blood flow in smaller vessels and reduced heart pumping function.

It is already a well-known fact that high blood pressure or hypertension is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

Malnutrition continues to be a widespread health issue in developing countries while in US poverty and hunger persist.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has reported that nearly 8.3 million children lived in food-insecure households in 2012, which means these households had difficulty feeding all their family members during this period.

Terrence Forrester, Ph.D., study lead author, stressed the importance of tackling malnutrition comprehensively to prevent and manage high blood pressure.

He said,"Such an investment in nutrition and general health will have huge public health dividends, including these longer-term risks of chronic heart and metabolic diseases that cost so much in human lives."

The study funded by the New Zealand Health Research Council was published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension.

Source: Medindia
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