Background: In adults, dietary fatty acids (FAs) modify blood pressure (BP), but it is not known whether childhood FA quality is associated with adulthood BP.
Objective: The purpose of the study was to investigate links between childhood serum cholesterol ester fatty acid (CEFA) proportions and adulthood systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP).
Design: We examined a cohort of 803 boys and girls (aged 3-18 y at baseline in 1980 and followed for 27 y) by using regression models adjusted for the known risk factors of BP. CEFAs were analyzed as markers of dietary FA intake.
Results: In men, serum SFA (B = 2.97, P < 0.001 for SBP; B = 1.48, P = 0.015 for DBP), MUFA (B = 0.61, P = 0.001 for SBP; B = 0.27, P = 0.078 for DBP), and omega-3 (n-3) PUFA (B = 5.50, P < 0.001 for SBP; B = 2.47, P = 0.015 for DBP) proportions, which were derived mainly from animal fats in this population, were positively associated with BP, whereas the omega-6 (n-6) PUFA proportion, which was derived mainly from vegetable oils and margarines, was negatively associated with BP (B = -0.56, P < 0.001 for SBP; B = -0.27, P < 0.018 for DBP). Serum cholesterol ester SFA and PUFA associations were supported by dietary intake data. In women, the associations between CEFA proportions and BP were weaker [for SBP: B = 0.36, P = 0.638 (NS) for SFA; B = 0.44, P = 0.019 for MUFA; B = 1.18, P = 0.376 (NS) for n-3 PUFA; and B = -0.33, P = 0.023 for n-6 PUFA].
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that fat quality as reflected in the serum cholesterol ester fraction in childhood is independently associated with adulthood BP particularly in men but also, to some extent, in women.