Blood pressure was measured in the prospective randomized Special Turku Coronary Risk Factor Intervention Project Study with an oscillometric method every year from 7 months to 15 years of age in 540 children receiving a low-saturated-fat, low-cholesterol diet and in 522 control children. Dietary intakes, family history of parental hypertension, and grandparental vascular disease were recorded. Systolic and diastolic blood pressures were 1.0 mm Hg lower (95% CI for systolic: -1.7 to -0.2 mm Hg; 95% CI for diastolic: -1.5 to -0.4 mm Hg) in children receiving low-saturated-fat counseling through childhood than in control children. Intakes of saturated fat were lower (P<0.001), those of polyunsaturated fat higher (P<0.001), and intakes of potassium slightly higher (P=0.002) in the intervention group, but sodium intakes were not influenced by the intervention (P=0.76). Children whose parents were hypertensive had 4- to 6-mm Hg higher systolic and 3- to 4-mm Hg higher diastolic blood pressures than children of normotensive parents (P<0.001). Diastolic blood pressure of children with grandparental vascular disease, ie, early cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease, tended to be higher than that of children with no grandparental disease (P=0.051). We conclude that restriction of saturated fat from infancy until 15 years of age decreases childhood and adolescent blood pressure with a meaningful population-attributable amount. The importance of childhood lifestyle counseling and primary prevention of hypertension should be emphasized, especially in those children with a family history of hypertension or atherosclerotic vascular disease.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00223600.