Vegetable, Fruit Intake Impacts Atherosclerosis Risk

Higher intake beginning in childhood associated with lower arterial stiffness in adulthood

MONDAY, Nov. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Lifestyle risk factors over a lifetime, especially fruit and vegetable consumption, are associated with the degree of adult arterial stiffness, according to research published online Nov. 29 in Circulation.

Heikki Aatola, M.D., of the University of Tampere in Finland, and colleagues studied lifestyle risk factor data from 1,622 subjects who had been followed for 27 years since childhood; the subjects had arterial pulse wave velocity (PWV) measured as adults. The researchers aimed to assess whether childhood and adulthood lifestyle risk factors, particularly lifetime fruit and vegetable consumption, are associated with adult PWV.

The researchers noted an inverse association of vegetable consumption in childhood with PWV in adulthood, which remained significant when adjusted for other traditional risk factors (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, systolic blood pressure, body mass index, and smoking). Persistently high intake of both fruits and vegetables throughout life was associated with lower PWV compared to persistently low consumption. The total number of lifestyle risk factors in childhood was directly and significantly associated with PWV in adulthood even when adjusted for number of risk factors in adulthood.

"The decrease in PWV appears to be more pronounced if dietary habits remain favorable from childhood to adulthood. These findings highlight the importance of paying attention to dietary habits already in childhood in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease," the authors conclude.

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