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J Nutr. 2009 Jul;139(7):1360-7. doi: 10.3945/jn.109.105874. Epub 2009 May 20.

A traditional rice and beans pattern is associated with metabolic syndrome in Puerto Rican older adults.

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USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston, MA 02111, USA.


The prevalence of metabolic syndrome was approximately 50% for Puerto Rican elders living in Massachusetts. Diet is known to be associated with metabolic syndrome. Little information exists regarding the dietary intakes of Puerto Ricans. We aimed to characterize the dietary patterns of 1167 Puerto Ricans (45-75 y) using principal components analysis and to further examine associations with metabolic syndrome. Factor solutions were examined for robustness using a random split sample. Adjusted means for metabolic syndrome components were calculated for factor quintiles. Logistic regression models examined associations between factors, metabolic syndrome, and its components. Analyses were also performed excluding subjects with diabetes. "Meat and French fries," "traditional," and "sweets" patterns emerged as most meaningful. A meat and French fries pattern was associated with higher blood pressure (systolic P-trend = 0.03 and diastolic < 0.001) and waist circumference (P-trend = 0.04). The traditional pattern was associated with lower HDL concentrations (P-trend = 0.007) and a higher likelihood of metabolic syndrome [odds ratio (OR): 1.7, 95% CI: 1.04, 2.7]). The sweets pattern was associated with lower HDL concentrations (P-trend < 0.001) and higher waist circumference (P-trend < 0.05). After excluding individuals with diabetes, the sweets pattern was no longer associated with fasting serum glucose and was associated with metabolic syndrome (OR: 1.8, 95% CI: 1.03, 3.3). Dietary patterns were significantly associated with metabolic syndrome and its components. More research is needed to make appropriate nutritional recommendations for this high-risk population.

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