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Sticking with DASH diet decreases obesity risk in adolescents

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February 1, 2018

Adolescents adhering to the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet, characterized by greater consumption of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts; moderate consumption of low-fat dairy; and lower consumption of red or processed meats and sweetened beverages have a decreased risk for central and general obesity compared with those with low adherence, according to researchers.

Parvin Mirmiran, PhD, professor in nutrition sciences at the Nutrition and Endocrine Research Center, Research Institute for Endocrine Sciences at Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, Iran, and colleagues evaluated data from the Tehran Lipid and Glucose Study on 628 adolescents (mean age, 14.1 years; 46.6% boys) to assess the association between the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet and cardiovascular risk factors after 3 years of follow-up.

Participants were divided into quintiles based on DASH score, with scores ranging from 1 to 40 and lower score indicating lower adherence to the diet: quintile 1 (n = 137; mean score, 19), quintile 2 (n = 141; mean score, 22), quintile 3 (n = 135; mean score, 24), quintile 4 (n = 102; mean score, 26), quintile 5 (n = 114; mean score, 29). Scores were determined by self-reported amounts consumed of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts, low-fat dairy, red and processed meats, sodium and sweetened beverages.

After 3 years of follow-up, the incidence of general obesity was 12.2%, central obesity was 11.8% and dyslipidemia was 19.7%.

Compared with participants in the lowest quintile, participants in the highest quintile had an 80% lower risk for general obesity (OR = 0.26; 95% CI, 0.15-0.76) and 70% lower risk for incident central obesity (OR = 0.32; 95% CI, 0.14-0.84) in the multivariable adjusted model. DASH scores were not associated with the risk for incident dyslipidemia. Three-year changes in BMI and waist circumference were inversely associated with greater adherence to DASH score after adjustment for potential confounding variables (P for trend < .05), but the diet was not associated with changes in levels of triglycerides or total, HDL or LDL cholesterol.

“A DASH-style dietary pattern was inversely associated with anthropometric index changes during 3 years of follow-up and decreased the risk of incident general and central adiposity in adolescents,” the researchers wrote. “Although in the present study there was no significant association of DASH diet with lipid profiles and risk of dyslipidemia, dietary patterns rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, but lower in meat and sweets, may be protective against obesity and central adiposity.” – by Amber Cox

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.