Objective: To determine how diet of the mother in pregnancy influences the blood pressure of the offspring in adult life.
Design: A follow up study of men and women born during 1948-1954 whose mothers had taken part in a survey of diet in late pregnancy.
Setting: Aberdeen, Scotland.
Population: Two hundred and fifty-three men and women born in Aberdeen Maternity Hospital.
Main outcome measure: Systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Results: The relations between the diet of mothers and their offsprings' blood pressure were complex. When the mothers' intake of animal protein was less than 50 g daily, a higher carbohydrate intake was associated with a higher blood pressure in the offspring (a 100 g increase in carbohydrate being associated with a 3 mmHg increase in systolic pressure (P = 0.02)). At daily animal protein intakes above 50 g, lower carbohydrate intake was associated with higher blood pressure (a 100 g decrease in carbohydrate being associated with an 11 mmHg rise in systolic blood pressure (P = 0.004)). These increases in blood pressure were associated with decreased placental size.
Conclusion: Mothers' intakes of animal protein and carbohydrate in late pregnancy may influence their offsprings' adult blood pressure. This may be mediated through effects on placental growth.