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Am J Med. 2018 Jan;131(1):48-55. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2017.08.010. Epub 2017 Aug 30.

Dietary Patterns and Long-Term Survival: A Retrospective Study of Healthy Primary Care Patients.

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Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif.
The Cooper Institute, Dallas, Tex.
Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif.
Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif. Electronic address:



Dietary patterns are related to mortality in selected populations with comorbidities. We studied whether dietary patterns are associated with long-term survival in a middle-aged, healthy population.


In this observational cohort study at the Cooper Clinic preventive medicine center (Dallas, Tex), a volunteer sample of 11,376 men and women with no history of myocardial infarction or stroke completed a baseline dietary assessment between 1987 and 1999 and were observed for an average of 18 years. Proportional hazard regressions, including a tree-augmented model, were used to assess the association of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) dietary pattern, Mediterranean dietary pattern, and individual dietary components with mortality. The primary outcome was all-cause mortality. The secondary outcome was cardiovascular mortality.


Mean baseline age was 47 years. Each quintile increase in the DASH diet score was associated with a 6% lower adjusted risk for all-cause mortality (P < .02). The Mediterranean diet was not independently associated with all-cause or cardiovascular mortality. Solid fats and added sugars were the most predictive of mortality. Individuals who consumed >34% of their daily calories as solid fats had the highest risk for all-cause mortality.


The DASH dietary pattern was associated with significantly lower all-cause mortality over approximately 2 decades of follow-up in a middle-aged, generally healthy population. Added solid fat and added sugar intake were the most predictive of all-cause mortality. These results suggest that promotion of a healthy dietary pattern should begin in middle age, before the development of comorbid risk factors.


Cardiovascular disease mortality; Dietary intake; Dietary patterns; Mortality

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