Objective: To determine whether dietary alpha-linolenic (omega-3) fatty acid intake is associated with lower blood pressure and aortic intima-media thickness (IMT) in people born small for gestational age (SGA).
Study design: Participants were recruited at age 6 months and followed up every 6-12 months until age 19 years. Blood pressure and food records were assessed at each visit. A total of 1009 participants had at least one blood pressure measure and complete birth weight and gestational age data, including 115 (11%) born SGA (birth weight≤10th percentile). Aortic IMT was assessed by ultrasound at 19 years (n=413). Analysis was by linear mixed models and multivariable linear regression.
Results: Children born SGA had greater systolic and pulse pressure from age 14 years onwards. In those born SGA, systolic blood pressure was 2.1 mm Hg lower ([95% CI 0.8-3.3]; P=.001) and pulse pressure 1.4 mm Hg lower ([95% CI 0.3-2.4]; P=.01), per exponential increase in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) intake; weakened by adjustment for anthropometric measures. Long-term ALA intake was inversely associated with aortic IMT at 19 years in those born SGA (-0.30 mm [95% CI -0.52, -0.08] per exponential greater ALA intake; P=.008), independent of other dietary and anthropometric factors.
Conclusion: Long-term dietary ALA intake during childhood is associated with improved vascular health in people born SGA.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.