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Diet quality indices, genetic risk and risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality: a longitudinal analysis of 77 004 UK Biobank participants

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ObjectivesTo examine associations of three diet quality indices and a polygenic risk score with incidence of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality, myocardial infarction (MI) and stroke. Design Prospective cohort study. Setting UK Biobank, UK. Participants 77 004 men and women (40–70 years) recruited between 2006 and 2010. Main outcome measures A polygenic risk score was created from 300 single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with CVD. Cox proportional HRs were used to estimate independent effects of diet quality and genetic risk on all-cause mortality, CVD mortality, MI and stroke risk. Dietary intake (Oxford WebQ) was used to calculate Recommended Food Score (RFS), Healthy Diet Indicator (HDI) and Mediterranean Diet Score (MDS). Results New all-cause (n=2409) and CVD (n=364) deaths and MI (n=1141) and stroke (n=748) events were identified during mean follow-ups of 7.9 and 7.8 years, respectively. The adjusted HR associated with one-point higher RFS for all-cause mortality was 0.96 (95% CI: 0.94 to 0.98), CVD mortality was 0.94 (95% CI: 0.90 to 0.98), MI was 0.97 (95% CI: 0.95 to 1.00) and stroke was 0.94 (95% CI: 0.91 to 0.98). The adjusted HR for all-cause mortality associated with one-point higher HDI and MDS was 0.97 (95% CI: 0.93 to 0.99) and 0.95 (95% CI: 0.91 to 0.98), respectively. The adjusted HR associated with one-point higher MDS for stroke was 0.93 (95% CI: 0.87 to 1.00). There was little evidence of associations between HDI and risk of CVD mortality, MI or stroke. There was evidence of an interaction between diet quality and genetic risk score for MI. Conclusion Higher diet quality predicted lower risk of all-cause mortality, independent of genetic risk. Higher RFS was also associated with lower risk of CVD mortality and MI. These findings demonstrate the benefit of following a healthy diet, regardless of genetic risk.



BMJ open





Article number



1 - 12


BMJ Publishing Group


London, Eng.







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal