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Many healthy eating patterns are associated with reduced risk of death

Several different healthy eating patterns are linked to longer life, according to a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Many different lifestyle elements are linked to longevity, from dietary patterns to exercise and more. Recent studies have shown that short, intense bursts of physical activity, even if they are unplanned exercise, are linked to longevity, as is a combination of weight training plus aerobic exercise (cardio). From a dietary perspective, environmentally sustainable dietary choices have been shown to be beneficial for both people and the planet, and certain types of coffee have been shown to be linked to cardiovascular health and longevity.

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For the latest study, researchers used data from two large general health studies to look at the relationship between eating patterns and risk of death over long follow-up periods. There were two groups of participants—75,230 women followed between 1984 and 2020 and 44,085 men followed between 1986 and 2020. At the beginning of the study period, the average age of women was 50.2 years, and this figure was the same for men. 53.3. All participants completed a detailed dietary questionnaire, and the researchers rated their diets based on four different scales: the Healthy Eating Index 2015 (HEI-2015), the Alternative Mediterranean Diet (AMED) score, the Healthy Plant-Based Diet Index (HPDI), and the Alternative Healthy nutrition index (AHEI).

Different patterns of healthy eating are associated with reduced risk of death

During an average follow-up period of 29.8 years for all participants, 31,263 women and 22,900 men died. When the researchers compared the top fifth and the bottom fifth of participants for each of the dietary scoring systems, they found that each of the healthy eating patterns was associated with a lower risk of death – a 19% lower risk for the 2015 WHO. 18% risk for AMED, 14% for HPDI and 20% for AHEI. Higher scores on each model were also associated with lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and respiratory disease, while only AMED and AHEI were associated with lower risk of death from neurodegenerative disease. Each of these samples was matched to different racial and ethnic groups, including non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, and Hispanic categories.

“It’s in a cohort study […] During up to 36 years of follow-up, greater adherence to a variety of healthy eating patterns was consistently associated with a lower risk of all-cause and all-cause mortality,” the researchers wrote. “These findings support recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans that many healthy eating patterns can be adapted to individual dietary habits and preferences,” with equally beneficial health outcomes.

Want to learn more about healthy eating with diabetes? “Healthy Nutrition Strategies,” “Improving Recipes: One Step at a Time,” and “What’s the Best Diet for Diabetes?” read the topics.