HealthDay News — Greater adherence to healthy eating patterns is consistently associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to a study published online June 15 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Zhilei Shan, M.D., Ph.D., from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues used data for women from the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS; 1984 to 2016) and the NHS II (1991 to 2017), as well as data for men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986 to 2012), to examine associations between four healthy eating patterns (Healthy Eating Index-2015 [HEI-2015], Alternate Mediterranean Diet Score [AMED], Healthful Plant-Based Diet Index [HPDI], and Alternate Healthy Eating Index [AHEI]) and risk of incident CVD.

The researchers found that during 5,257,190 person-years of follow-up, there were 23,366 incident CVD cases (18,092 coronary heart disease and 5,687 stroke). For the highest versus the lowest quintiles of healthy eating, the risk of CVD was lower (adjusted hazard ratios, 0.83, 0.83, 0.86, and 0.79 for HEI-2015, AMED, HPDI, and AHEI, respectively). Overall, 25-percentile higher dietary score was associated with 10 to 20 percent lower risk of CVD (hazard ratios, 0.80, 0.90, 0.86, and 0.81 for HEI-2015, AMED, HPDI, and AHEI, respectively). For most subgroups stratified by race/ethnicity and other risk factors, the associations between dietary scores and CVD risk were consistent.

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“These findings support the recommendations of the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans that multiple healthy eating patterns can be adapted to individual food traditions and preferences,” the authors write.

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