Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Eating vegetables, fruits as children linked to healthier arteries as adults
"Children who consistently eat lots of fruits and vegetables lower their risk of having stiff arteries in young adulthood, according to research reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. Arterial stiffness is associated with atherosclerosis, which underlies heart disease. When arteries are stiff, the heart works harder to pump blood. Researchers compared childhood and adulthood lifestyle factors - including consumption levels of vegetables, fruit, butter and alcohol, as well as smoking and physical activity status - with pulse wave velocity in young adulthood. Pulse wave velocity assesses arterial stiffness. 'When the heart beats, the blood's ejection causes a pulse wave, which travels along the wall of the arterial tree,' said Mika Kähönen, M.D., Ph.D., senior study author and professor and chief physician for the Department of Clinical Physiology at Tampere University Hospital in Tampere, Finland. 'The velocity of this pulse wave is dependent on the stiffness of the arterial wall; the stiffer the wall, the higher velocity. It is well known that the arterial stiffening process has a major role in the development of cardiovascular diseases. 'To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study looking at the associations between childhood lifestyle risk factors and pulse wave velocity in young adulthood.' The researchers examined lifestyle factors and measured arterial pulse wave velocity of 1,622 participants in the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study, which followed children ages 3 to 18 for 27 years"