Send to

Choose Destination
Nutr Res. 2018 Jul 10. pii: S0271-5317(18)30222-7. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2018.06.002. [Epub ahead of print]

The importance of healthy dietary patterns in chronic disease prevention.

Author information

Cancer Prevention Program, Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1100 Fairview Ave North, M4-B402, Seattle, WA 98109-1024. Electronic address:


The prevalence of chronic diseases in the United States and around the world is very high and not sustainable by most health care systems. While the etiology is complex, many chronic diseases are preventable through life long practices of adhering to healthy dietary patterns, engaging in physical activity and maintaining acceptable weight. Healthy dietary patterns were defined in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Scientific Report as diets that are high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low and non-fat dairy and lean protein. Other characteristics of healthy dietary patterns are that they are low in saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and added sugars. The preponderance of evidence to date suggests that healthy dietary patterns reduce the risk of the major diet-related chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. While several methods exist for assessing dietary patterns in population studies, those that characterize dietary patterns using a priori scoring systems of indices, such as the Healthy Eating Index, may be of the most value because they offer a consistent metric that can be applied across multiple studies. It follows that consistency in methods then allows comparisons of results across populations. The nutrition science community can play a major leadership role in national and global health by promoting access to the ability of all population groups to consume a healthy dietary pattern.


Chronic diseases; Dietary patterns; Healthy Eating Index

[Available on 2020-01-10]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center