Purpose: Epidemiologic data linking adherence to the dietary approaches to stop hypertension (DASH) diet and metabolic abnormalities is sparse and inconsistent. The association between habitual intake of the DASH diet and metabolic syndrome (MetS) has not been investigated in the Middle East. We aimed to determine whether usual adherence to the DASH dietary pattern was associated with MetS in a group of Iranian women.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in 2012 among a representative sample of Isfahani female nurses. A validated, dish-based semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire was used for assessing usual dietary intakes. The DASH score was constructed based on 8 main foods and nutrients emphasized or minimized in the DASH diet. The MetS was defined according to the Joint Scientific Statement.
Results: After controlling for potential confounders, individuals in the highest tertile of the DASH diet score had 81% lower odds of MetS than those in the lowest category (OR 0.19; 95% CI 0.07-0.96). Further, adjustment for body mass index slightly weakened the association (OR 0.37; 95% CI 0.14-0.91). Participants with the greater adherence to the DASH diet were 54, 73, 78, and 80% less likely to have enlarged waist circumference, hyperglyceridemia, low HDL-C levels, and high blood pressure, respectively, compared with those in the lowest tertile. No significant association was seen between consumption of a DASH diet and abnormal fasting plasma glucose.
Conclusions: Adherence to the DASH eating plan was inversely associated with the odds of MetS and most of its features among a group of Iranian women.