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A healthy dietary pattern consisting of a variety of food choices is inversely associated with the development of metabolic syndrome

Nutrition Research and Practice
The Korean Nutrition Society and The Korean Society of Community Nutrition (KAMJE)
Publication Date
DOI: 10.4162/nrp.2013.7.3.233
  • Original Research
  • Biology
  • Medicine


There are limited data on healthy dietary patterns protective against metabolic syndrome (MetSyn) development. We identified dietary patterns among middle-aged and older adults and investigated the associations with the incidence of MetSyn. A population-based prospective cohort study included 5,251 male and female Koreans aged 40-69 years. At baseline, all individuals were free of MetSyn, other major metabolic diseases, and known cardiovascular disease or cancer. Cases of MetSyn were ascertained over a 6-year of follow-up. Dietary patterns and their factor scores were generated by factor analysis using the data of a food frequency questionnaire. We performed pooled logistic regression analysis to estimate multivariable-adjusted relative risk (RR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) for associations between factor scores and MetSyn risk. Two dietary patterns were identified; (1) a healthy dietary pattern, which included a variety of foods such as fish, seafood, vegetables, seaweed, protein foods, fruits, dairy products, and grains; and (2) an unhealthy dietary pattern, which included a limited number of food items. After controlling for confounding factors, factor scores for the healthy dietary pattern were inversely associated with MetSyn risk (P-value for trend < 0.05) while those for the unhealthy dietary pattern had no association. Individuals in the top quintile of the healthy diet scores showed a multivariable-adjusted RR [95% CI] of 0.76 [0.60-0.97] for MetSyn risk compared with those in the bottom quintile. The beneficial effects were derived from inverse associations with abdominal obesity, low HDL-cholesterol levels, and high fasting glucose levels. Our findings suggest that a variety of healthy food choices is recommended to prevent MetSyn.

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