Adherence to a healthy Nordic food index and risk of myocardial infarction in middle-aged Danes: the diet, cancer and health cohort study

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Abstract

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: For decades, the Mediterranean diet has been in focus regarding healthy eating as it has been associated with reduced risk of non-communicable diseases. Less interest has been given to health benefits of other regional diets. The aim of the present study was to assess whether adherence to a healthy Nordic food index was associated with lower risk of myocardial infarction (MI) among middle-aged Danes.

SUBJECTS/METHODS: Data were obtained from the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health cohort study of 57 053 men and women aged 50 - 64 years recruited between 1993 and 1997. The healthy Nordic food index comprised healthy Nordic food items selected a priori (fish, cabbage, rye bread, oatmeal, apple and pears and root vegetables). Information on incident MI was ascertained through linkage with national registries. Hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated from sex-specific Cox proportional hazard models.

RESULTS: In total, 1669 men and 653 women developed MI during follow-up (13.6 median years). In adjusted models, those with an index score of 5 - 6 points (highest scores) had significantly lower MI risk (men: HR = 0.77, 95% CI = 0.62, 0.97; women: HR = 0.55, 95% CI = 0.37, 0.82) relative to those scoring 0 points in the index (lowest score). A significantly lower MI risk was found per 1-point increment in the index in both men (HR = 0.95, 95% CI = 0.92, 0.99) and women (HR = 0.93, 95% CI = 0.88, 0.98).

CONCLUSIONS: A healthy Nordic diet is associated with lower MI risk among middle-aged Danes, suggesting that Nordic diets should be considered in recommendations for dietary changes in the promotion of coronary health.

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