Impact of diet on ten-year absolute cardiovascular risk in a prospective cohort of 94 321 individuals: A tool for implementation of healthy diets

Elsevier, The Lancet Regional Health - Europe, Volume 19, August 2022
Kjeldsen E.W., Thomassen J.Q., Rasmussen K.L., Nordestgaard B.G., Tybjaerg-Hansen A., Frikke-Schmidt R.

Background: An unhealthy diet is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease attributing to the burden of non-communicable diseases. Current dietary guidelines are not sufficiently implemented and effective strategies to encourage people to change and maintain healthy diets are lacking. We aimed to evaluate the impact of incorporating dietary assessment into ten-year absolute risk charts for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). Methods: In the prospective Copenhagen General Population Study including 94 321 individuals, we generated sex-specific ten-year absolute risk scores for ASCVD according to adherence to dietary guidelines, using a short and valid food frequency questionnaire. To account for competing risk, we used the method of Fine-Gray. Findings: Non-adherence to dietary guidelines was associated with an atherogenic lipid and inflammatory profile. Ten-year absolute risk of ASCVD increased with increasing age, increasing systolic blood pressure, and decreasing adherence to dietary guidelines for both sexes. The highest ten-year absolute risk of ASCVD of 38% was observed in men aged 65–69 years who smoked, had very low adherence to dietary guidelines, and a systolic blood pressure between 160 and 179 mmHg. The corresponding value for women was 26%. Risk charts replacing dietary assessment with non-HDL cholesterol yielded similar estimates. Interpretation: Incorporation of a short dietary assessment into ten-year absolute risk charts has the potential to motivate patients to adhere to dietary guideline recommendations. Improved implementation of national dietary guidelines must be a cornerstone for future prevention of cardiovascular disease in both younger and older individuals. Funding: The Lundbeck Foundation (R278-2018-804) and the Danish Heart Foundation.