THURSDAY, March 12, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Higher adherence to the 2015 to 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (measured by the Healthy Eating Index-2015 [HEI-2015]) is associated with lower risks for incident cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality, according to a study published in the February issue of The Journal of Nutrition.

Emily A. Hu, from the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues assessed whether the HEI-2015, the Alternative Healthy Eating Index-2010 (AHEI-2010), alternate Mediterranean (aMed) diet, and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension Trial (DASH) scores were associated with incident CVD, CVD mortality, and all-cause mortality among 12,413 participants (aged 45 to 64 years; 56 percent women) in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. Average dietary intakes were assessed at Visits 1 (1987 to 1989) and 3 (1993 to 1995), with follow-up through 2017.

The researchers found 4,509 cases of incident CVD, 1,722 cases of CVD mortality, and 5,747 cases of all-cause mortality during a median of 24 to 25 years of follow-up. Participants in the highest quintile of HEI-2015 had a lower risk for incident CVD (hazard ratio, 0.84), CVD mortality (hazard ratio, 0.68), and all-cause mortality (hazard ratio, 0.82) versus participants in the lowest quintile after adjusting for demographic and lifestyle covariates. For AHEI-2010, aMed, and DASH scores, there were similar protective associations with no significant interactions by race.

“Our findings add evidence to the protective associations between the HEI-2015 score and cardiovascular and death outcomes, as well as corroborate previous literature on the AHEI-2010, aMed, and DASH scores,” the authors write.

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