Abstract 3647: Dietary Patterns and Risk of Increased Carotid Intima-Media Thickness in Women: The Framingham Nutrition Studies
It is estimated that the majority of cardiovascular disease is preventable with lifestyle modifications including dietary changes, but optimal diet for prevention is still uncertain. Evaluating dietary patterns within a population provides insight into the relationships between overall dietary quality in vivo and cardiovascular disease risk. Carotid intima media thickness (cIMT), a sensitive measure of preclinical CVD, provides new opportunities to elucidate the link between diet and preventable disease. Few studies have used cIMT to look at the development of cardiovascular disease in relation to dietary factors, and none have looked at overall diet quality. We hypothesized that five population-derived dietary patterns would be significantly correlated with maximum cIMT in a cohort of 1278 women enrolled in the Framingham Heart Offspring/Spouse Study who were free of CVD. The five dietary patterns were constructed based on the Framingham Food Frequency Questionnaire collected in 1984–88 and are verified to be stable over time. They are non-overlapping, have an established spectrum of nutritional risk, and are associated with major known CVD risk factors and disease outcomes. Analysis of covariance was used to compare least square means of the maximum cIMT measure for all 5 patterns. Women with an Empty Calorie dietary pattern had a significantly elevated maximum cIMT compared with women in the Heart Healthy, Light Eating, and High Fat dietary patterns (1.46mm vs. 1.18mm, 1.22mm, and 1.17mm respectively P<0.01). This relationship remained significant even after controlling for other associated risk factors including smoking, systolic blood pressure, cholesterol, and body mass index, P<0.05. Relative to most other dietary patterns, the Empty Calorie dietary pattern is characterized by high consumption of total and saturated fat, higher intake of sugars in the form of desserts and sugar-sweetened beverages, low intake of fruits and vegetables, and lower overall levels of protective micronutrients. In conclustion, our results suggest that unique dietary patterns are independently associated with risk of preclinical cardiovascular disease and that their distinct nutritional features should be targeted for CVD prevention.