Objective: Carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) is a validated surrogate marker of preclinical atherosclerosis and is predictive of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Research on the association between IMT and diet, however, is lacking, especially in low-income countries or low-BMI populations.
Design: Cross-sectional analysis. Dietary intakes were measured using a validated, thirty-nine-item FFQ at baseline cohort recruitment. IMT measurements were obtained from 2010-2011.
Setting: Rural Bangladesh.
Subjects: Participants (n 1149) randomly selected from the Health Effects of Arsenic Longitudinal Study, an ongoing, population-based, prospective cohort study established in 2000. Average age at IMT measurement was 45·5 years.
Results: Principal component analysis of reported food items yielded a 'balanced' diet, an 'animal protein' diet and a 'gourd and root vegetable' diet. We observed a positive association between the gourd/root vegetable diet and IMT, as each 1 sd increase in pattern adherence was related to a difference of 7·74 (95 % CI 2·86, 12·62) μm in IMT (P<0·01), controlling for age, sex, total energy intake, smoking status, BMI, systolic blood pressure and diabetes mellitus diagnoses. The balanced pattern was associated with lower IMT (-4·95 (95 % CI -9·78, -0·11) μm for each 1sd increase of adherence; P=0·045).
Conclusions: A gourd/root vegetable diet in this Bangladeshi population positively correlated with carotid IMT, while a balanced diet was associated with decreased IMT.
Keywords: Atherosclerosis; Bangladesh; Carotid intima-media thickness; Diet; Dietary patterns.