Healthy dietary patterns and risk of cardiovascular disease in US Hispanics/Latinos: the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL)

Am J Clin Nutr. 2022 Oct 6;116(4):920-927. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqac199.


Background: Multiple dietary patterns have been recommended by the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans for the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The adherence to these patterns and its relation with risk of CVD remain unclear in the US Hispanic/Latino population.

Objectives: We aimed to evaluate 3 healthy eating patterns measured by 3 dietary pattern scores [the Alternate Mediterranean diet (aMED), the Healthy Eating Index (HEI)-2015, and the healthful Plant-based Diet Index (hPDI)] across different Hispanic/Latino backgrounds and generations. We further examined the associations of these dietary scores with incident CVD in US Hispanics/Latinos.

Methods: We included 10,293 adult participants of US Hispanics/Latinos of 6 backgrounds (Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, Central American, and South American), free of CVD or cancer at baseline, in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos. Dietary pattern scores were derived at the baseline visit using two 24-h dietary recalls. The primary outcome was major incident CVD (n = 232), comprised of coronary heart disease and stroke, during an average 6-y follow-up.

Results: Mean levels of all 3 dietary scores were significantly different across the 6 Hispanic/Latino background groups (all P < 0.001), with the highest (i.e., healthiest) in those of Mexican background and lowest in those of Puerto Rican background. Compared with non-mainland-US-born Hispanics/Latinos, mainland-US-born Hispanics/Latinos had significantly lower dietary scores (P < 0.001). Differences in dietary scores between mainland-US-born and non-mainland-US-born Hispanics/Latinos were majorly driven by differences in dietary intakes of healthy plant-based foods. After adjusting for multiple covariates, significantly lower risk ratios (95% CI) of CVD were observed for 1-SD increments of the dietary scores, with 0.74 (0.60, 0.91) for aMED, 0.80 (0.63, 1.00) for HEI-2015, and 0.74 (0.60, 0.93) for hPDI.

Conclusions: Although adherence to healthy eating patterns varied by Hispanic/Latino backgrounds and generations, greater adherence to these eating patterns was associated with lower risk of CVD across diverse US Hispanics/Latinos.

Keywords: US Hispanics/Latinos; cardiovascular disease; dietary guidelines; dietary patterns; immigrant generations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / prevention & control
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Public Health
  • Puerto Rico
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology