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Nutr Res. 2014 Apr;34(4):277-84. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2014.02.008. Epub 2014 Mar 5.

Healthy Eating Index 2005 and selected macronutrients are correlated with improved lung function in humans.

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Department of Nutrition and Health Care Management, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC. Electronic address:
Department of Nutrition and Health Care Management, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Department of Nutrition, UNC Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC.


A number of dietary components have been associated with lung function. However, a comprehensive measure of a healthy diet has not been compared with lung function. Herein, we test the hypothesis that a healthy overall diet, as assessed by the Healthy Eating Index 2005 (HEI-2005), will be associated with increased lung function. This is an investigation using the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Research Materials obtained from the National Heart Lung Blood Institute. The study surveyed dietary habits of 15 567 American subjects from 4 communities in 1987 to 1990. Spirometric measures of lung function were also taken at entry to the study and a second time 3 years later. Based on food and nutritional data collected by food frequency questionnaire, an HEI-2005 score was calculated for each subject. This total score, together with its 12 components scores and associated macronutrient, was compared with lung function results by linear regression. Models were controlled for smoking behavior, demographics, and other important covariates. The HEI-2005 total scores were positively associated with forced expiratory volume in 1 second per forced vital capacity (FEV(1)/FVC) at visit 1 (β = .101 per increase in 1 quintile of HEI-2005) and visit 2 (β = .140), and FEV(1) as percentage of the predicted FEV(1) at visit 2 (β = .215) (P < .05). In addition, HEI-2005 component scores that represented high intakes of whole grains (β = .127 and .096); saturated fats (β = -.091); and solid fats, alcohol, and added sugar (β = -.109 and -.131) were significantly associated with FEV(1)/FVC at either visit 1 or visit 2. Intakes of total calories (β =-.082 at visit 1) and saturated fatty acids (β = -.085 at visit 2) were negatively associated with FEV(1)/FVC. Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids (β = .085 and .116) and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (β = .109 and .103), animal protein (β = .132 and .093), and dietary fiber (β = .129) were positively associated with lung health. An overall healthy diet is associated with higher lung function.


Diet record; Dietary fats; Dietary fiber; Human study; Spirometry; Unsaturated fatty acid

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