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Changes in plant-based diet quality and health-related quality of life in women

  • Megu Y. Baden (a1), Shiho Kino (a2), Xiaoran Liu (a1), Yanping Li (a1), Yongjoo Kim (a2) (a3), Laura D. Kubzansky (a2) (a3), An Pan (a4), Olivia I. Okereke (a5) (a6), Walter C. Willett (a1) (a5) (a7), Frank B. Hu (a1) (a5) (a7) and Ichiro Kawachi (a2)...


Few studies have evaluated the association between a healthful plant-based diet and health-related quality of life (HRQoL). We followed 50 290 women in the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS; 1992–2000) and 51 784 women in NHSII (1993–2001) for 8 years to investigate changes in plant-based diet quality in relation to changes in physical and mental HRQoL. Plant-based diet quality was assessed by three plant-based diet indices: overall plant-based diet index (PDI), healthful PDI (hPDI) and unhealthful PDI (uPDI). Physical and mental HRQoL were measured by physical component score (PCS) and mental component score (MCS) of the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey. Diet was assessed 2 years before the HRQoL measurements and both were updated every 4 years. The associations between 4-year changes in PDIs and HRQoL were evaluated. Each 10-point increase in PDI was associated with an improvement of 0·07 (95 % CI 0·01, 0·13) in PCS and 0·11 (95 % CI 0·05, 0·16) in MCS. A 10-point increase in hPDI was associated with an increment of 0·13 (95 % CI 0·08, 0·19) in PCS and 0·09 (95 % CI 0·03, 0·15) in MCS. Conversely, a 10-point increase in uPDI was associated with decreases in PCS and MCS (−0·07 (95 % CI −0·12, −0·02) and −0·10 (95 % CI −0·16, −0·05), respectively). Compared with a stable diet, an increase in hPDI was significantly associated with improvements in physical HRQoL in older women and with mental HRQoL in younger women. In conclusion, adherence to a healthful plant-based diet was modestly associated with improvements in both physical and mental dimensions of HRQoL.


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*Corresponding author: Megu Y. Baden, email


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These authors contributed equally to this work.



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Changes in plant-based diet quality and health-related quality of life in women

  • Megu Y. Baden (a1), Shiho Kino (a2), Xiaoran Liu (a1), Yanping Li (a1), Yongjoo Kim (a2) (a3), Laura D. Kubzansky (a2) (a3), An Pan (a4), Olivia I. Okereke (a5) (a6), Walter C. Willett (a1) (a5) (a7), Frank B. Hu (a1) (a5) (a7) and Ichiro Kawachi (a2)...


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