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J Nutr. 2017 Jul;147(7):1374-1383. doi: 10.3945/jn.117.249060. Epub 2017 Jun 7.

A Western Diet Pattern Is Associated with Higher Concentrations of Blood and Bone Lead among Middle-Aged and Elderly Men.

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Departments of Epidemiology and.
Department of Clinical Laboratory and Nutritional Sciences, University of Massachusetts at Lowell, Lowell, MA.
Department of Environmental Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA.
Normative Aging Study, Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA.
Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA; and.
Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.
Departments of Epidemiology and
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.


Background: Little is known about the effects of overall dietary pattern on lead concentration.Objective: We examined the association of overall dietary patterns, derived from a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire, with bone and blood lead concentrations.Methods: These longitudinal analyses included mostly non-Hispanic white, middle-aged-to-elderly men from the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study. Long-term lead exposures were measured as tibia and patella lead concentrations by using K-shell-X-ray fluorescence. Short-term lead exposures were measured as blood lead concentrations by using graphite furnace atomic absorption spectroscopy. Dietary pattern scores were derived by using factor analysis. Linear mixed-effects models were utilized to predict blood lead concentrations among 983 men, aged 44-92 y at baseline, with a total of 3273 observations (during 1987-2008). We constructed linear regression models to determine the relations between dietary patterns and bone lead concentrations among 649 participants with an age range of 49-93 y.Results: Two major dietary patterns were identified: a prudent dietary pattern, characterized by high intakes of fruit, legumes, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, and seafood; and a Western dietary pattern, characterized by high intakes of processed meat, red meat, refined grains, high-fat dairy products, French fries, butter, and eggs. After adjusting for age, smoking status, body mass index, total energy intake, education, occupation, neighborhood-based education and income level, men in the highest tertile of the Western pattern score (compared with the lowest) had 0.91 μg/dL (95% CI: 0.41, 1.42 μg/dL) higher blood lead, 5.96 μg/g (95% CI: 1.76, 10.16 μg/g) higher patella lead, and 3.83 μg/g (95% CI: 0.97, 6.70 μg/g) higher tibia lead. No significant association was detected with the prudent dietary pattern in the adjusted model.Conclusions: These findings suggest that the Western diet is associated with a greater lead body burden among the middle-aged-to-elderly men. More studies are needed to examine the underlying mechanisms by which dietary patterns are associated with lead concentrations.


Normative Aging Study; blood lead concentrations; bone lead concentrations; dietary patterns; elderly men; patella lead; tibia lead

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