Purpose: The aims of this study were to (1) determine the association between diet quality using the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) score and cardiometabolic risk in a British working population and (2) identify employee characteristics associated with reporting a poorer quality dietary pattern.
Methods: British police employees enrolled (2007-2012) into the Airwave Health Monitoring Study (n = 5527) were included for sex-specific cross-sectional analyses. Dietary intakes were measured using 7-day food records. DASH score was calculated to determine diet quality. Logistic regression evaluated associations between (1) diet quality and increased cardiometabolic risk (defined as ≥ 3 risk markers: dyslipidaemia, elevated blood pressure, waist circumference, CRP or HbA1c), and (2) poor diet quality (lowest fifth of DASH score distribution) and employee characteristics.
Results: Employees recording a poor diet quality had greater odds (OR) of increased cardiometabolic risk independent of established risk factors (demographic, lifestyle and occupational) and BMI: men OR 1.50 (95% CI 1.12-2.00), women: OR 1.84 (95% CI 1.19-2.97) compared to the healthiest diet group. Characteristics associated with reporting a poor quality diet were employment in Scotland vs. England: men OR 1.88 (95% CI 1.53-2.32), women: OR 1.49 (95% CI 1.11-2.00), longer working hours (≥ 49 vs. ≤40 h) men: OR 1.53 (95% CI 1.21-1.92) women: OR 1.53 (95% CI 1.12-2.09). For men, job strain (high vs. low) was associated with reporting a poor diet quality OR 1.66 (95% CI 1.30-2.12).
Conclusions: The general population disparities in diet quality between England and Scotland were reflected in British police employees. The association of longer working hours and job strain with diet quality supports the targeting of workplace nutritional interventions.
Keywords: Cardiometabolic risk; DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension Score); Diet; Police.