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