Correlation of blood pressure, obesity, and adherence to the Mediterranean diet with indices of arterial stiffness in children
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The aim of the study was to assess the hypothesis that obesity, blood pressure (BP), and dietary habits (adherence to the Mediterranean diet) are related to indices of arterial stiffness (AS) in childhood. Two hundred and seventy-seven children aged 12 years were measured with the R6.5 Pulsecor® monitor, which performs measurements using an upper arm BP cuff held at above systolic pressure for a short time. The augmentation index (AI) in the brachial artery, the peripheral pulse pressure to central pulse pressure (PPP/CPP) ratio, and the reflected wave transit time to height ratio were used as indices of AS. The degree of adherence to the Mediterranean diet was assessed by the KIDMED index which includes 16 questions on specific dietary habits. Forty-three percent of the children were overweight and obese. Overweight and obese children had significantly lower PPP/CPP and KIDMED score in comparison to children with normal body mass index (BMI). In multivariate regression models, indices of AS were related to mean peripheral BP, heart rate, and height, while BMI had an independent correlation to PPP/CPP. The KIDMED index also had a negative correlation with AI independently of obesity. Conclusion: Obesity and adherence to the Mediterranean diet patterns are factors related independently to indices of AS even in 12-year-old children.