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Low-Fat Diet for Infant Boys Pays Off Later

Ten years of low-fat regimen boosts boys' endothelial function

MONDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- A low-fat diet introduced in infancy and maintained for 10 years boosts boys' endothelial function and cuts their serum cholesterol, according to a study published online Dec. 5 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Olli T. Raitakari, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Turku, Finland, and colleagues studied 1,062 healthy 7-month-old infants between 1990 and 1992, randomized to a low-saturated-fat diet and control groups on an unrestricted diet.

At age 11, high-resolution ultrasound was used to measure the endothelium-dependent and endothelium-independent vasodilatory responses of the brachial artery in 179 intervention and 190 control children.

The researchers found the effect of intervention significant in boys, but not in girls. Intervention had no effect on nitrate-mediated dilation. "The difference in endothelial function in boys remained significant after adjustment for current serum total or LDL cholesterol, but became non-significant after adjustment for mean cholesterol measured under 3 years of age," they write.

"A low-saturated-fat diet introduced in infancy and maintained during the first decade of life is associated with enhanced endothelial function in boys," the authors conclude. "The effect is explained in part by the diet-induced reduction in serum cholesterol concentration."

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