Dietary patterns in relation to disease burden expressed in Disability-Adjusted Life Years

Ellen A. Struijk*, Joline W.J. Beulens, Anne M. May, Heidi P. Fransen, Jolanda M.A. Boer, G. Ardine De Wit, N. G. Onland-Moret, Yvonne T. Van Der Schouw, Jeljer Hoekstra, H. Bas Bueno-De-Mesquita, Petra H.M. Peeters

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Design: A prospective cohort study was conducted in 33,066 healthy men and women aged 20-70 y recruited into the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition-Netherlands study during 1993-1997. We measured adherence to 3 a priori dietary patterns [the modified Mediterranean diet score (mMDS), the WHO-based Healthy Diet Indicator, and the Dutch Healthy Diet index] and 2 a posteriori dietary patterns. Two a posteriori methods were used to extract Western and prudent patterns. Participants were followed until the end of 2007 for the occurrence of and mortality from the most important chronic diseases. The disease burden was expressed in DALYs, which are the sum of Years Lost due to Disability and Years of Life Lost because of premature mortality. The associations between dietary patterns (per SD change in score) and DALYs were estimated by using a 2-part model and adjusted for relevant confounders (sex, age at recruitment, smoking status and intensity, educational level, marital status, job status, energy intake, and physical activity).

Results: After an average follow-up of 12.4 y, higher adherence to the mMDS or prudent pattern was most strongly associated with healthy survival; per SD higher adherence to the mMDS or prudent pattern, fewer healthy life years were lost [51 d (-0.14 DALYs; 95% CI: -0.21, -0.08 DALYs) and 58 d (-0.16 DALYs; 95% CI: -0.23, -0.09 DALYs), respectively].

Conclusion: In this Dutch study, of various dietary patterns evaluated, higher adherence to the mMDS or prudent dietary pattern was associated with a lower disease burden as assessed by DALYs.

Background: Although diet is related to chronic disease risk and mortality, its association with total disease burden is not clear.

Objective: We investigated the minimum impact of different dietary patterns on disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) by using individual longitudinal data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1158-1165
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2014

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