Adherence to a Healthy Nordic Food Index Is Associated with a Lower Risk of Type-2 Diabetes--The Danish Diet, Cancer and Health Cohort Study

Nutrients. 2015 Oct 21;7(10):8633-44. doi: 10.3390/nu7105418.


Background: Type-2 diabetes (T2D) prevalence is rapidly increasing worldwide. Lifestyle factors, in particular obesity, diet, and physical activity play a significant role in the etiology of the disease. Of dietary patterns, particularly the Mediterranean diet has been studied, and generally a protective association has been identified. However, other regional diets are less explored.

Objective: The aim of the present study was to investigate the association between adherence to a healthy Nordic food index and the risk of T2D. The index consists of six food items: fish, cabbage, rye bread, oatmeal, apples and pears, and root vegetables.

Methods: Data was obtained from a prospective cohort study of 57,053 Danish men and women aged 50-64 years, at baseline, of whom 7366 developed T2D (median follow-up: 15.3 years). The Cox proportional hazards model was used to assess the association between the healthy Nordic food index and risk of T2D, adjusted for potential confounders.

Results: Greater adherence to the healthy Nordic food index was significantly associated with lower risk of T2D after adjusting for potential confounders. An index score of 5-6 points (high adherence) was associated with a statistically significantly 25% lower T2D risk in women (HR: 0.75, 95%CI: 0.61-0.92) and 38% in men (HR: 0.62; 95%CI: 0.53-0.71) compared to those with an index score of 0 points (poor adherence).

Conclusion: Adherence to a healthy Nordic food index was found to be inversely associated with risk of T2D, suggesting that regional diets other than the Mediterranean may also be recommended for prevention of T2D.

Keywords: Nordic diet; Type-2 diabetes (T2D); dietary pattern; prospective cohort..

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Denmark
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control*
  • Diet* / ethnology
  • Diet* / standards
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors