Hypothesis-oriented food patterns and incidence of hypertension: 6-year follow-up of the SUN (Seguimiento Universidad de Navarra) prospective cohort

Public Health Nutr. 2010 Mar;13(3):338-49. doi: 10.1017/S1368980009991066. Epub 2009 Aug 6.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diet Surveys
  • Diet, Mediterranean
  • Diet, Sodium-Restricted*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Hypertension / prevention & control
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires