Objective: To study the association between adherence to several a priori-defined healthy food patterns and the risk of hypertension.
Design: Prospective, multipurpose, dynamic cohort study (recruitment permanently open). We followed up 10 800 men and women (all of them university graduates), who were initially free of hypertension, for a variable period (range 2-6 years, median 4.6 years). During follow-up, 640 participants reported a new medical diagnosis of hypertension. Baseline diet was assessed using a validated 136-item FFQ. Validated information about non-dietary potential confounders was also gathered. We calculated adherence to fifteen different hypothesis-oriented food patterns and assessed the association between each of them and incident hypertension using multivariable Cox models.
Setting: The SUN (Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra - University of Navarra Follow-up) Project, Spain.
Subjects: Participants recruited to the SUN cohort before October 2005 were eligible for inclusion; after excluding those with self-reported hypertension or CVD at baseline, or with extreme total energy intake, data of 10 800 were analysed.
Results: Higher adherence to the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet (range of the score: 0 to 5) was significantly associated with a lower risk for developing hypertension (P for trend = 0.02). The other food patterns showed no significant association with incident hypertension.
Conclusions: Our results support a long-term protection of the DASH diet against the incidence of hypertension, but we found no evidence of a similar inverse association with hypertension for any other a priori-defined healthy food pattern.