Healthy diet linked with reduced hypertension in diabetic youth

By • Published: July 31st, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Kids: Here’s a new reason to eat your vegetables. New research shows that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products lowers blood pressure in children who have type one diabetes.

Hypertension is common in people who have diabetes, and contributes to ill-health and death in those with the disease.

In adults with hypertension, eating fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy has been shown to lower blood pressure. But there is little research on such effects among youth.

The study, published in Hypertension, a journal of the American Heart Association, looked at nutrition and health data from almost three-thousand young people ages ten to twenty-two from 2001 to 2005.

It was the first to examine the effects of the so-called “DASH” diet in diabetic youth rather than in adults. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The eating plan includes eight food groups, and youngsters were scored based on how much they ate from each.

The researchers point out that some of the youngsters might have changed their eating habits after being diagnosed with hypertension, which might have skewed the results.

The eating plan wasn’t associated with hypertension in youth who had type two diabetes, but that might have been because of a small sample size in that group.

Researchers say a different type of study, one that follows people into the future rather than looks at past behavior, is needed to see what role the diet can play in preventing hypertension in diabetic youth.