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Dietary patterns predict heart attack risk in middle-aged men

In a large-scale study of middle-aged men spanning eight years, Hu and colleagues tracked the food consumption of 44,875 men and identified two overall dietary patterns which they labeled as either "prudent" or "Western." The subjects were all health professionals aged 40-75 having no symptoms of CVD at the beginning of the study in 1986. Cases of nonfatal myocardial infarction and fatal coronary heart disease in the study population were tracked over the entire eight years and correlated to food consumption data. The research, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed that the prudent diet significantly reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease(CVD), whereas the Western diet significantly increases CVD risk. The prudent pattern has a higher intake of vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole grains, fish and poultry. In contrast, the Western pattern has a higher intakes of red meat, processed meat, refined grains, sweets and desserts, French fries and high-fat dairy products. Men who adhered to the prudent dietary pattern had one-third the relative risk of cardiovascular disease of those who stuck most closely to the Western pattern. In addition, the Western pattern was often associated with other risk factors such as smoking or family history of CVD.

A range of important differences in lifestyle factors and relative risk of CVD emerged between the two dietary groups. Participants who were in quintile 5 of the prudent pattern score were more likely to take multivitamin and vitamin E supplements and to engage in exercise, less likely to smoke cigarettes, and were slightly older and leaner. In contrast, men with the highest quintile (5) Western pattern score were more likely to smoke and drink alcohol and less likely to take a multivitamin or vitamin E supplements. Current smokers in quintile 5 of the Western pattern had more than three times the risk for CVD than current smokers in quintile 5 of the prudent pattern. In subjects wh
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Contact: Beth Wettergreen
bmwettergreen@ucdavis.edu
530-754-7528
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
26-Sep-2000


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