Food pattern analyses are popular tools in the study of associations between diet and health. However, there is a need for further evaluation of this methodology. The aim of the present cross-sectional study was to evaluate the relationship between food pattern groups (FPG) and existing health, and to identify factors influencing this relationship.
The inhabitants of Västerbotten County in northern Sweden are invited to health check-ups when they turn 30, 40, 50, and 60 years of age. The present study includes data collected from almost 60,000 individuals between 1992 and 2005. Associations between FPG (established using K-means cluster analyses) and health were analyzed separately in men and women.
The health status of the participants and their close family and reporting accuracy differed significantly between men and women and among FPG. Crude regression analyses, with the high fat FPG as reference, showed increased risks for several health outcomes for all other FPGs in both sexes. However, when limiting analysis to individuals without previous ill-health and with adequate energy intake reports, most of the risks instead showed a trend towards protective effects.
Food pattern classifications reflect both eating habits and other own and family health related factors, a finding important to remember and to adjust for before singling out the diet as a primary cause for present and future health problems. Appropriate exclusions are suggested to avoid biases and attenuated associations in nutrition epidemiology.
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The Mediterranean diet has been widely promoted and may be associated with chronic disease prevention and a better overall health status. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether the Mediterranean diet score inversely predicted total or cause-specific mortality in a prospective population study in Northern Sweden (Västerbotten Intervention Program). The analyses were performed in 77,151 participants (whose diet was measured by means of a validated FFQ) by Cox proportional hazard models adjusted for several potential confounders. The Mediterranean diet score was inversely associated with all-cause mortality in men [HR = 0.96 (95% CI = 0.93, 0.99)] and women [HR = 0.95 (95% CI = 0.91, 0.99)], although not in obese men. In men, but not in women, the score was inversely associated with total cancer mortality [HR = 0.92 (95% CI = 0.87, 0.98)], particularly for pancreas cancer [HR = 0.82 (95% CI = 0.68, 0.99)]. Cardiovascular mortality was inversely associated with diet only in women [HR = 0.90 (95% CI = 0.82, 0.99)]. Except for alcohol [HR = 0.83 (95% CI = 0.76, 0.90)] and fruit intake [HR = 0.90 (95% CI = 0.83, 0.98)], no food item of the Mediterranean diet score independently predicted mortality. Higher scores were associated with increasing age, education, and physical activity. Moreover, healthful dietary and lifestyle-related factors additively decreased the mortality likelihood. Even in a subarctic region, increasing Mediterranean diet scores were associated with a longer life, although the protective effect of diet was of small magnitude compared with other healthful dietary and lifestyle-related factors examined.
OBJECTIVE: To determine changes in reported food frequency in adults between 1986 and 1999. DESIGN: Four consecutive cross-sectional surveys. SETTING: Counties of Norrbotten and Västerbotten, Northern Sweden. SUBJECTS: The Northern Sweden MONICA (Monitoring of Trends and Determinants in Cardiovascular Disease) population, four independent cross-sectional surveys in 1986, 1990, 1994 and 1999. Randomly selected age-stratified samples of the population aged 25-64 years. Analysis is based on 2982 males and 3087 females who completed an 84-item food-frequency questionnaire. RESULTS: Between 1986 and 1999, average reported consumption of 3%-fat milk decreased from 42 to 7 intakes month(-1) in men and from 28 to 4 intakes month(-1) in women. Reported use of 1.5%-fat milk increased from 6 to 27 intakes month(-1) in men and from 6 to 24 in women. Monthly intakes of potatoes and root vegetables decreased from 38 to 27 in men and from 39 to 32 in women. Consumption of pasta increased from 4 to 7 intakes month(-1) in both sexes. Intakes of solid fats with 80% fat content dropped from 92 to 62 per month in men and from 78 to 52 per month in women, whereas use of 40%-fat spread increased from 12 to 22 intakes month(-1) in men and from 5 to 26 in women. Monthly intakes of vegetable oil increased from 3 to 12 in men and from 3 to 15 in women. The percentage of overweight or obese individuals (body mass index >25 kg m(-2)) increased from 52 to 65% in men and from 41 to 52% in women (P for linear trend in all these changes,