Topical Area: Nutritional Epidemiology
Objectives : High blood pressure (BP) is a common health condition, especially among the aging population. Studies suggest that diet influences blood pressure. In this cross-sectional study, we investigated the association between dietary factors and BP in older adults.
Methods : One hundred twenty-eight participants (n=57 males and n=71 females) aged 65–80 were included in this study. Dietary data was collected through a validated food frequency questionnaire. Demographics, anthropometric measurements, socioeconomic factors, medication information, and physical activity levels were also collected. Multiple linear regressions were conducted to examine the associations between dietary factors including meats, vegetables, grains, fruits, dairy, fats, and added sugar and changes in blood pressure.
Results : There were no associations between dietary factors and systolic BP when both men and women were included in the model. However, solid fruit was associated with diastolic blood pressure (beta=-0.22, p=0.039; 95% CI -7.9, -0.2) in both males and females, and every 0.71 cup increase in solid fruit consumption was predicted to decrease diastolic BP by 2.9 mmHg. When the model was split by sex, there was a significant association between intake of added sugar and systolic (beta=0.731, p< 0.001; 95% CI 1.8, 5.6) and diastolic (beta=0.537, p=0.006; 95% CI 0.5, 2.8) BP in women after controlling for body mass index, physical activity levels, daily calorie intake, and BP medication use. Among all the dietary factors, a greater intake of added sugar had the most significant impact on BP in elderly females. The model predicted that a decrease of 1 standard deviation (4.6 teaspoons) of added sugar would result in a 0.731 standard deviation (17.0 mmHg) drop of systolic BP and a 0.537 standard deviation (7.6 mmHg) drop of diastolic BP. Study results could be limited by the small sample size.
Conclusions : Our findings support the dietary guidelines of limiting daily intake of added sugar to promote overall cardiovascular health. Future studies are needed to examine the impact of added sugar on vascular function.
Funding Sources : None.