Blood pressure during pregnancy in Canadian inuit: Community differences related to diet

  • Popeski D
  • Ebbeling L
  • Brown P
 et al. 
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Objective: To assess a possible relation between the incidence of hypertension during pregnancy and the consumption of fatty acids found in fish and sea mammals.; Design: Retrospective survey of pregnancy-induced hypertension; prospective diet survey.; Setting: Inuit women from seven communities in the Keewatin region of the Northwest Territories.; Patients: All women from Arviat (formerly Eskimo Point), Baker Lake, Chesterfield Inlet, Coral Harbour, Repulse Bay, Sanikiluaq and Whale Cove who gave birth between Sept. 1, 1984, and Aug. 31, 1987.; Main Outcome Measures: All blood pressure measurements recorded during the pregnancy, incidence of pregnancy-induced hypertension in the seven communities, harvest of country food (food obtained from the land or sea rather than bought in a store) for six of the communities, self-reported consumption of fish, sea mammals and terrestrial mammals by a subgroup of the subjects and levels of phospholipid fatty acids in cord serum samples from a subgroup of the infants.; Main Results: Significantly lower mean diastolic blood pressure values during the last 6 hours of pregnancy were noted for the women from the three communities with a higher consumption of fish and sea mammals (78.2 [95% confidence limits (CL) 76.6 and 79.9] mm Hg) than for those from the four communities with a lower consumption of such food (81.5 [95% CL 80.1 and 82.9] mm Hg) (p less than 0.005). The relation between community diet type and blood pressure was independent of other factors. Correspondingly, the women from communities with a lower consumption of marine food were 2.6 times more likely to be hypertensive during the pregnancy than those from communities with a higher consumption of marine food (p less than 0.007). Parity (p less than 0.05) and prepregnancy weight (p less than 0.005) were also significantly associated with pregnancy-induced hypertension; however, the relation between hypertension and community diet type remained significant in logistic regression analysis (odds ratio 2.56, p = 0.03). The differences between the community groups were substantiated by the results of the diet survey, the levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in the cord serum phospholipids and the harvest data.; Conclusions: Increased consumption of fish may be beneficial for women at risk for hypertension during pregnancy. A prospective randomized trial of fish or EPA supplementation during pregnancy is warranted.;

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  • ISBN: 0820-3946
  • ISSN: 08203946
  • SCOPUS: 2-s2.0-0025995545
  • PUI: 21328999
  • PMID: 1878826
  • SGR: 0025995545


  • D. Popeski

  • L. R. Ebbeling

  • P. B. Brown

  • G. Hornstra

  • J. M. Gerrard

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