Following a Western Style Diet May Lead to Greater Risk of Premature Death
New findings reported in The American Journal of Medicine
Data from a new study of British adults suggest that adherence to a "Western-style" diet (fried and sweet food, processed and red meat, refined grains, and high-fat dairy products) reduces a person's likelihood of achieving older ages in good health and with higher functionality. Study results appear in the May issue of The American Journal of Medicine.
“The impact of diet on specific age-related diseases has been studied extensively, but few investigations have adopted a more holistic approach to determine the association of diet with overall health at older ages,” says lead investigator Tasnime Akbaraly, PhD, Inserm, Montpellier, France. “We examined whether diet, assessed in midlife, using dietary patterns and adherence to the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI), is associated with aging phenotypes, identified after a mean 16-year follow-up.”
The AHEI is a validated index of diet quality, originally designed to provide dietary guidelines with the specific intention to combat major chronic conditions such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
Investigators analyzed findings from the British Whitehall II cohort study, which suggest that following the AHEI can double the odds of reversing metabolic syndrome, a condition known to be a strong predictor of heart disease and mortality. The research team sought to identify dietary factors that can not only prevent premature death, but also promote ideal aging.
Researchers followed 3,775 men and 1,575 women from 1985-2009 with a mean age of 51 years from the Whitehall II study. Using a combination of hospital data, results of screenings conducted every five years, and registry data, investigators identified mortality and chronic diseases among participants. The outcomes at follow-up stage, classified into 5 categories were:
1. Ideal aging, defined as free of chronic conditions and high performance in physical, mental, and cognitive functioning tests – 4.0 percent
2. Nonfatal cardiovascular event – 12.7 percent
3. Cardiovascular death – 2.8 percent
4. Noncardiovascular death – 7.3 percent
5. Normal aging – 73.2 percent
The study determined that participants with low adherence to the AHEI increased their risk of cardiovascular and noncardiovascular death. Those who followed a “Western-type diet” consisting of fried and sweet food, processed food and red meat, refined grains, and high-fat dairy products lowered their chances for ideal aging.
“We showed that following specific dietary recommendations such as the one provided by the AHEI may be useful in reducing the risk of unhealthy aging, while avoidance of the ‘Western-type foods’ might actually improve the possibility of achieving older ages free of chronic diseases and remaining highly functional,” notes Dr. Akbaraly. “A better understanding of the distinction between specific health behaviors that offer protection against diseases and those that move individuals towards ideal aging may facilitate improvements in public health prevention packages.”
# # #
Notes for Editors
"Does Overall Diet in Midlife Predict Future Aging Phenotypes? A Cohort Study,” by Tasnime Akbaraly, PhD; Séverine Sabia, PhD; Gareth Hagger-Johnson, PhD; Adam G. Tabak, MD; Martin J. Shipley, MSc; Markus Jokela, PhD; Eric J. Brunner, PhD; Mark Hamer, PhD; G. David Batty, PhD; Archana Singh-Manoux, PhD; Mika Kivimaki, PhD (DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amjmed.2012.10.028). It appears in The American Journal of Medicine, Volume 126, Issue 5 (May 2013) published by Elsevier.
Full text of the article is available to credentialed journalists upon request. Contact Jane Grochowski at +1 406 542 8397 or firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain copies. To schedule an interview with the authors please contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About The American Journal of Medicine
The American Journal of Medicine (http://www.amjmed.com), known as the “Green Journal,” is one of the oldest and most prestigious general internal medicine journals published in the United States. It has an Impact Factor of 5.43, which ranks it 13 out of 153 General and Internal Medicine titles according to the 2011 Journal Citation Reports® published by Thomson Reuters.
AJM, the official journal of The Association of Professors of Medicine, a group comprised of chairs of departments of internal medicine at 125-plus U.S. medical schools, publishes peer-reviewed, original scientific studies that have direct clinical significance. The information contained in this article in The American Journal of Medicine is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment, and the Journal recommends consultation with your physician or healthcare professional. AJM is published by Elsevier.
Elsevier is a global information analytics company that helps institutions and professionals progress science, advance healthcare and improve performance for the benefit of humanity. Elsevier provides digital solutions and tools in the areas of strategic research management, R&D performance, clinical decision support, and professional education; including ScienceDirect, Scopus, ClinicalKey and Sherpath. Elsevier publishes over 2,500 digitized journals, including The Lancet and Cell, more than 35,000 e-book titles and many iconic reference works, including Gray's Anatomy. Elsevier is part of RELX Group, a global provider of information and analytics for professionals and business customers across industries. www.elsevier.com
+1 406 542 8397