Study: Dietary Counseling Introduced at Early Age Leads to Better Cardiovascular Health in Adulthood

April 30th 2020
Jill Murphy, Assistant Editor

The STRIP examined the benefits of promoting cardiovascular health by dietary counseling from infancy to early adulthood.

An intervention group in a recent study showed that those who received dietary counseling had lower serum cholesterol level and better insulin sensitivity than those in the control group, according to the Special Turku Coronary Risk Factor Intervention Project (STRIP).

The STRIP examined the benefits of promoting cardiovascular health by dietary counseling from infancy to early adulthood. In total, 1116 children and their families from Turku participated in the study, starting when children were 7 months old.

Half of the children were randomly assigned to a group that received dietary counseling promoting a heart-healthy diet, according to the nutritional recommendations. Meanwhile, the other half were assigned to the control group who received only the basic health education given at Finnish maternity and child health clinics and school health care. Regular counseling that started in infancy ended when the participants were 20 years of age.

Regular dietary counseling starting in infancy had a positive impact on the quality of fat in the diet, as well as on the serum cholesterol level, insulin sensitivity, and blood pressure, according to the study authors. Additionally, the clustering of adverse cardiovascular health markers is less common in the group who participated in the dietary counseling compared with the control group.

The participants from the previous study were invited to take part in a follow-up study that took place from 2015 to 2018. In total, 551 people participated in the follow-up. The new study intended to investigate whether the participants in the dietary counseling group continued to have a more heart-healthy diet and lower serum cholesterol level than the control group, according to the study authors.

The results from the follow-up study demonstrated that the diets of the people in the intervention group continued to be more heart-healthy, while sustained beneficial effects were seen in the serum total and low-density lipoprotein serum cholesterol levels, which were still lower in the intervention than the control group. Further, the insulin sensitivity of the people who participated in the counseling was also better than in the control group.

The study authors support the idea that counseling on a heart-healthy diet starting in childhood has a positive impact on cardiovascular health, which is sustained after discontinuation of the active counseling.

REFERENCE

Dietary counselling introduced at an early age leads to better cardiovascular health in adulthood. University of Turku.https://www.utu.fi/en/news/press-release/dietar-%20counselling-introduced-at-an-early-age-leads-to-better-cardiovascular-health-in-adulthood. Published April 23, 2020. Accessed April 29, 2020.

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