Diet and glycosylated haemoglobin in the 1946 British birth cohort

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Objectives:Raised glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c) concentration is a recognized risk factor for diabetes, the incidence of which is rising worldwide. The intake of certain foods has been related to HbA1c concentration. The aim of this study was to investigate whether nutrient intake, sourced by these foods, was predictive of raised glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c) concentration in a British cohort.Subjects:The subjects were 495 men and 570 women who were members of the Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development, 1946 birth cohort.Diet was assessed from 5-day records in 1982, 1989 and 1999. HbA1c was measured in blood samples collected in 1999. Individuals in whom concentration of HbA1c was ≥6.3% were identified as being ‘at risk’ and their nutrient intake was compared with those whose concentration of HbA1c was within the normal range (≤6.2%).Results:Lower intakes of protein, carbohydrate, non-starch polysaccharide, iron, folate, vitamin B12 and a higher percentage energy from fat in 1989 were significantly predictive of high HbA1c status in 1999. In 1999, there were no nutrient intakes that were predictive of HbA1c status. Global tests of whether the intakes of energy, carbohydrate, sodium, iron, riboflavin and vitamin B12 at all three time points were related to HbA1c status in 1999, were significant.Conclusion:An increased intake of energy, carbohydrate, sodium, iron, riboflavin and vitamin B12 over 10 years was predictive of raised HbA1c status. Increased energy intake may have resulted in increase in body weight, which is a risk factor for diabetes.European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2009) 63, 1084-1090; doi:10.1038/ejcn.2009.43; published online 24 June 2009

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