Dietary fiber intake and cardiometabolic risks among US adults, NHANES 1999-2010

Am J Med. 2013 Dec;126(12):1059-67.e1-4. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2013.07.023. Epub 2013 Oct 15.


Background: Dietary fiber may decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and associated risk factors. We examined trends in dietary fiber intake among diverse US adults between 1999 and 2010, and investigated associations between dietary fiber intake and cardiometabolic risks including metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular inflammation, and obesity.

Methods: Our cross-sectional analysis included 23,168 men and nonpregnant women aged 20+ years from the 1999-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. We used weighted multivariable logistic regression models to estimate predicted marginal risk ratios and 95% confidence intervals for the risks of having the metabolic syndrome, inflammation, and obesity associated with quintiles of dietary fiber intake.

Results: Consistently, dietary fiber intake remained below recommended adequate intake levels for total fiber defined by the Institute of Medicine. Mean dietary fiber intake averaged 15.7-17.0 g. Mexican Americans (18.8 g) consumed more fiber than non-Hispanic whites (16.3 g) and non-Hispanic blacks (13.1 g). Comparing the highest with the lowest quintiles of dietary fiber intake, adjusted predicted marginal risk ratios (95% confidence interval) for the metabolic syndrome, inflammation, and obesity were 0.78 (0.69-0.88), 0.66 (0.61-0.72), and 0.77 (0.71-0.84), respectively. Dietary fiber was associated with lower levels of inflammation within each racial and ethnic group, although statistically significant associations between dietary fiber and either obesity or metabolic syndrome were seen only among whites.

Conclusions: Low dietary fiber intake from 1999-2010 in the US, and associations between higher dietary fiber and a lower prevalence of cardiometabolic risks suggest the need to develop new strategies and policies to increase dietary fiber intake.

Keywords: Dietary fiber; Disparities; Metabolic diseases; NHANES.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aging
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage*
  • Education
  • Ethnicity
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolic Diseases / epidemiology
  • Metabolic Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys*
  • Racial Groups
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Time Factors
  • United States / epidemiology