Background: Brief dietary assessment tools are needed to guide counseling in underserved populations to reduce cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. The Dietary Risk Assessment is one such tool modified over time to reflect emerging evidence concerning diet and CVD risk.
Objective: To examine the capacity of the modified Dietary Risk Assessment tool to measure aspects of diet quality in a sample of underserved, midlife (aged 40 to 64 years) women, by comparing Dietary Risk Assessment results to those of a longer food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) and with serum carotenoids.
Design: This study used baseline data from women enrolled in a CVD risk reduction intervention trial. The Dietary Risk Assessment was administered to 236 women and results were compared to those from a longer FFQ administered to 104 women, and to serum carotenoids results from all participants.
Results: Correlations between Dietary Risk Assessment indexes and corresponding measures from the FFQ were statistically significant: fruit and vegetable, r=-0.53 (P<0.0001, correlation is negative as a lower Dietary Risk Assessment score indicates greater fruit and vegetable intake); saturated fat, r=0.60 (P<0.0001). In linear regression models stratified by smoking and adjusted for body mass index, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level, very-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level, and age, the Dietary Risk Assessment fruit and vegetable index was significantly associated with serum carotenoids (parameter estimate for nonsmokers -0.22, P=0.01; smokers -0.45, P=0.003). Correlation coefficients between Dietary Risk Assessment total score and three diet quality index scores derived from FFQ variables were statistically significant, ranging in magnitude from 0.57 to 0.60.
Conclusions: The modified Dietary Risk Assessment provides a reasonable assessment of dietary factors associated with CVD risk; thus, it is appropriate for use to guide dietary counseling in CVD prevention programs for underserved, midlife, women.