Polyunsaturated fatty acid intake and blood pressure in adolescents

T. A. O'Sullivan, A. P. Bremner, L. J. Beilin, Gina L. Ambrosini, T. A. Mori, R. C. Huang, Wendy H. Oddy

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Evidence that intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) may modify blood pressure (BP) is generally limited to middle-aged or hypertensive populations. This study examined cross-sectional associations between BP and dietary intake of PUFAs in 814 adolescents aged 13-15 years participating in the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study. Fatty acid intakes were assessed using 3-day diet records and resting BP was determined using multiple oscillometric readings. In multivariate regression models, systolic BP was inversely associated with intakes of polyunsaturated (b0.436, P0.01), omega-3 (b2.47, P0.02), omega-6 (b0.362, P0.04) and long chain omega-3 fatty acids (b4.37, P0.04) in boys. Diastolic BP and mean arterial pressure were inversely associated with intakes of long chain omega-3 fatty acids in boys (b3.93, P0.01, b4.05, P0.01, respectively). For specific long-chain omega-3s, significant inverse associations were observed between eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid, such as systolic BP decreasing by 4.7 mm Hg (95% CI-9.3 to 0.1) for a quarter gram increase in EPA, but no significant associations were observed with docosapentaenoic acid. No significant associations were observed in girls, or with the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. Our results suggest that gender may moderate relationships between fatty acid intake and BP in adolescence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-187
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Human Hypertension
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • adolescence
  • blood pressure
  • omega-3
  • omega-6
  • polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • teenagers

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