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Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil. 2010 Feb;17(1):50-5. doi: 10.1097/HJR.0b013e32832f3a76.

Food and vessels: the importance of a healthy diet to prevent cardiovascular disease.

Author information

1
Centre for Prevention and Health Services Research, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, BA Bilthoven, The Netherlands.

Abstract

AIM:

We attempted to quantify the burden of cardiovascular disease that can be prevented by broader adherence to recommendations on dietary intake of key nutrients.

METHODS:

A computer model capturing the epidemiology of chronic disease and risk factors in the Dutch population was used to simulate differences in the occurrence of cardiovascular disease under various scenarios defined by levels of intake of saturated and trans fatty acids, fruit, vegetables and fish. The following scenarios were compared with the current situation: (i) the whole population adhering to recommendations (optimum scenario); (ii) a moderate improvement and (iii) increased intake of fruit as has been achieved in an actual intervention ('fruit at work'). Other outcome measures assessed were (differences in) life expectancy and healthy life expectancy for a 40-year-old individual.

RESULTS:

In the optimum scenario, cumulative incidence prevented over a period of 20 years was 240,000 cases for acute myocardial infarction, or 30% of the expected number of cases, 328,000 (16%) for other coronary heart disease and 215,000 (21%) for stroke. For the moderate improvement scenario, the corresponding figures were 119,000 (14%), 163 000 (8%) and 105,000 (10%), respectively. The individual contributions of each of the separate dietary factors were greatest for fish, followed in decreasing order by fruit, vegetables, saturated and trans fatty acids. Only fish and fruit contributed to a decrease in strokes. In the optimum scenario, 1 year was added to the life expectancy of a 40-year-old individual and half a year in the moderate improvement scenario.

CONCLUSION:

Broader adherence to recommendations for daily intake of fruit, vegetables, fish and fatty acid composition may take away as much as 20-30% of the burden of cardiovascular disease and result in approximately 1 extra life year for a 40-year-old individual. Promotion of a healthy diet should be given more emphasis in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

PMID:
19593150
DOI:
10.1097/HJR.0b013e32832f3a76
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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