August 10/Aichi, Japan/Nutrition Journal -- Few studies have examined whether dietary factors might affect blood pressure in children. Japanese researchers purposed to investigate whether seaweed intake is associated with blood pressure level among Japanese preschool children.

Methods

The design of the study was cross-sectional, and it was conducted in autumn 2006. Subjects were healthy preschoolers aged 3-6 years in Aichi, Japan. Blood pressure and pulse were measured once by an automated sphygmomanometer, which uses oscillometric methods. Dietary data, including seaweed intake, were assessed using three-day dietary records covering two consecutive weekdays and one weekend day. Of a total of 533 children, 459 (86.1%) agreed to be enrolled in our study. Finally, blood pressure measurement, complete dietary records and parent-reported height and weight were obtained for 223 boys and 194 girls.

Results

When examining Spearman's correlation coefficients, seaweed intake was significantly negatively related to systolic blood pressure in girls (P=0.008). In the one-way analysis of covariance for blood pressure and pulse after adjustments for age and BMI, the boys with the lowest, middle and highest tertiles of seaweed intake had diastolic blood pressure readings of 62.8, 59.3 and 59.6mmHg, respectively (P=0.11, trend P=0.038). Girls with higher seaweed intake had significantly lower systolic blood pressure readings (102.4, 99.2 and 96.9mmHg for girls with the lowest, middle and highest tertiles of seaweed intake, respectively; P=0.037, trend P=0.030).

Conclusion

The study showed that seaweed intake was negatively related to diastolic blood pressure in boys and to systolic blood pressure in girls. This suggests that seaweed might have beneficial effects on blood pressure among children.

 

From the August 16, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News.