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Repeated dietary counselling in childhood may help lower heart disease risk

A Finnish study showed that long-term dietary changes to lower saturated fat and cholesterol intakes have a positive impact on serum cholesterol in children and therefore may help lower their risk of cardiovascular disease later on.
The Special Turku coronary Risk factor Intervention Project (STRIP) recruited infants at 7 months of age and divided them into two dietary groups. The control group followed their usual diets, while the intervention group’s parents were given repeated dietary counselling to keep their infants on a low saturated fat, low cholesterol diet. The families were then followed for 14 years, during which time regular tests were carried out to track diet, body mass index, growth, development and serum cholesterol levels.
The results showed that, while the diet had no impact on growth, development or body mass index (a measure of body fat), serum cholesterol levels and LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol appeared to be significantly lower in the intervention group. Dietary analysis indicated that the diets of the intervention children were, indeed, lower in saturated fat, indicating that the dietary advice had been followed.
The authors concluded that repeated dietary counseling throughout childhood was an effective way to reduce intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol, and to manage serum cholesterol levels. This in turn may lower the children’s risk of cardiovascular disease in adulthood.
For more information, see
Niinikoski H et al (2007). Impact of repeated dietary counseling between infancy and 14 years of age on dietary intakes and serum lipids and lipoproteins: The STRIP study. Circulation, Vol 116, pages1032-1040.
EUFIC related material:
Diet-related diseases-Cardiovascular

The European Food Information Council (EUFIC) is a non-profit organisation which communicates science-based information on nutrition and health, food safety and quality, to help consumers to be better informed when choosing a well-balanced, safe and healthful diet.

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