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Obes Res. 2005 Jan;13(1):153-62.

Dietary patterns and the metabolic syndrome in obese and non-obese Framingham women.

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  • 1Ambulatory Nutrition Service, Department of Nutrition and Food Services, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.



To examine the relationship between habitual dietary patterns and the metabolic syndrome (MetS) in women and to identify foci for preventive nutrition interventions.


Dietary patterns, nutrient intake, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and MetS risk factors were characterized in 1615 Framingham Offspring-Spouse Study (FOS) women. Dietary pattern subgroups were compared for MetS prevalence and CVD risk factor status using logistic regression and analysis of covariance. Analyses were performed overall in women and stratified on obesity status; multivariate models controlled for age, apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotypes, and CVD risk factors.


Food and nutrient profiles and overall nutritional risk of five non-overlapping habitual dietary patterns of women were identified including Heart Healthier, Lighter Eating, Wine and Moderate Eating, Higher Fat, and Empty Calories. Rates of hypertension and low high-density lipoprotein levels were high in non-obese women, but individual MetS risk factor levels were substantially increased in obese women. Overall MetS risk varied by dietary pattern and obesity status, independently of APOE and CVD risk factors. Compared with obese or non-obese women and women overall with other dietary patterns, MetS was highest in those with the Empty Calorie pattern (contrast p value: p<0.05).


This research shows the independent relationship between habitual dietary patterns and MetS risk in FOS women and the influence of obesity status. High overall MetS risk and the varying prevalence of individual MetS risk factors in female subgroups emphasize the importance of preventive nutrition interventions and suggest potential benefits of targeted behavior change in both obese and non-obese women by dietary pattern.

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