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Higher-educated people often have healthier diets, but it is unclear whether specific dietary patterns exist within educational groups. We therefore aimed to derive dietary patterns in the total population and by educational level and to investigate whether these patterns differed in their composition and associations with the incidence of fatal and non-fatal CHD and stroke. Patterns were derived using principal components analysis in 36 418 participants of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition-Netherlands cohort. Self-reported educational level was used to create three educational groups. Dietary intake was estimated using a validated semi-quantitative FFQ. Hazard ratios were estimated using Cox Proportional Hazard analysis after a mean follow-up of 16 years. In the three educational groups, similar ‘Western’, ‘prudent’ and ‘traditional’ patterns were derived as in the total population. However, with higher educational level a lower population-derived score for the ‘Western’ and ‘traditional’ patterns and a higher score on the ‘prudent’ pattern were observed. These differences in distribution of the factor scores illustrate the association between education and food consumption. After adjustments, no differences in associations between population-derived dietary patterns and the incidence of CHD or stroke were found between the educational groups (Pinteraction between 0·21 and 0·98). In conclusion, although in general population and educational groups-derived dietary patterns did not differ, small differences between educational groups existed in the consumption of food groups in participants considered adherent to the population-derived patterns (Q4). This did not result in different associations with incident CHD or stroke between educational groups.
To examine the association between adherence to the Dutch Guidelines for a Healthy Diet created by the Dutch Health Council in 2006 and overall and smoking-related cancer incidence.
Prospective cohort study.
Adherence to the guidelines, which includes one recommendation on physical activity and nine on diet, was measured using an adapted version of the Dutch Healthy Diet (DHD) index. The score ranged from 0 to 90 with a higher score indicating greater adherence to the guidelines. We estimated the hazard ratios (HR) and 95 % confidence intervals for the association between the DHD index (in tertiles and per 20-point increment) at baseline and cancer incidence at follow-up.
We studied 35 608 men and women aged 20–70 years recruited into the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition–Netherlands (EPIC-NL) study during 1993–1997.
After an average follow-up of 12·7 years, 3027 cancer cases were documented. We found no significant association between the DHD index (tertile 3 v. tertile 1) and overall (HR = 0·97; 95 % CI 0·88, 1·07) and smoking-related cancer incidence (HR = 0·89; 95 % CI 0·76, 1·06) after adjustment for relevant confounders. Excluding the components physical activity or alcohol from the score did not change the results. None of the individual components of the DHD index was significantly associated with cancer incidence.
In the present study, participants with a high adherence to the Dutch Guidelines for a Healthy Diet were not at lower risk of overall or smoking-related cancer. This does not exclude that other components not included in the DHD index may be associated with overall cancer risk.
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