Dietary intake and peripheral arterial disease incidence in middle-aged adults: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study

Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 Mar;105(3):651-659. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.116.137497. Epub 2017 Jan 11.


Background: Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a costly source of morbidity and mortality among older persons in the United States. Dietary intake plays a role in the development of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease; however, few studies have examined the relation of food intake or dietary patterns with PAD.Objective: We examined the relation between habitual dietary intake at midlife and incident PAD over ∼20 y of follow-up.Design: Among 14,082 participants enrolled in the ARIC (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities) Study initially free of PAD, dietary intake was assessed at baseline in 1987-1989 by using a modified Harvard food-frequency questionnaire. Food groups were created, and principal components analysis was used to develop "healthy" and "Western" dietary patterns; both were categorized into quintiles or quartiles. Incident PAD was determined by an ankle-brachial index <0.9 assessed at 2 subsequent examinations and hospital discharge codes through 2012. Multivariate-adjusted Cox proportional hazards regression was used.Results: During a mean follow-up of 19.9 y, 1569 participants developed incident PAD. In models adjusted for demographic characteristics, behaviors, and food groups, the HRs (95% CIs) for incident PAD increased across quintiles of meat consumption [quintile 1: reference, quintile 2: 1.38 (1.16, 1.65), quintile 3: 1.38 (1.16, 1.65), quintile 4: 1.45 (1.20, 1.74), quintile 5: 1.66 (1.36, 2.03); P-trend <0.001]. Compared with those who drank no alcohol, those who had 1-6 drinks/wk had a lower risk of incident PAD [0.78 (0.68, 0.89)]. For coffee, ≥4 cups/d compared with none was inversely associated with incident PAD [quintile 5 compared with quintile 1: 0.84 (0.75, 1.00); P-trend = 0.014]. There was no association between other food groups or patterns and incident PAD.Conclusions: In this prospective cohort study, greater meat consumption was associated with a higher risk, and moderate alcohol consumption was associated with a lower risk of incident PAD. Whether these associations are causal remains to be seen. This trial was registered at as NCT00005131.

Keywords: alcohol; cardiovascular disease; dietary patterns; food groups; meat; peripheral arterial disease.

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking*
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Coffee
  • Diet Surveys
  • Diet*
  • Diet, Healthy
  • Diet, Western
  • Ethanol / administration & dosage
  • Ethanol / therapeutic use*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meat / adverse effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease* / etiology
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease* / prevention & control
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Coffee
  • Ethanol

Associated data