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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UAB Examines Southern Dietary Patterns Associated with CHD in the REGARDS Study

In a recent paper, Dr. Suzanne E. Judd, associate professor in the department of biostatistics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, in collaboration with Dr. James M. Shikany, professor in UAB’s division of preventive medicine, observes that “[t]he association of overall diet, as characterized by dietary patterns, with risk of incident acute coronary heart disease (CHD) has not been studied extensively in samples including sociodemographic and regional diversity.” Co-investigators include Dr. Monika M. Safford, professor, and Dr. Raegan Durant, assistant professor, in UAB’s division of preventive medicine.

[Photo: Dr. Suzanne E. Judd]

Using data from 17,418 Black and White participants, 45 years or older, who were enrolled from 2003 to 2007 in the national, population-based, longitudinal Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study, the team obtained dietary patterns with factor analysis and, using Cox proportional hazards regression, examined the risk of incident acute coronary heart disease (CHD) events — nonfatal  myocardial infarction and acute CHD death — associated with “quartiles of consumption of each pattern, adjusted for various levels of covariates.”

According to Dr. Judd, “Five primary dietary patterns emerged: Convenience, Plant-based, Sweets, Southern, and Alcohol and Salad. A total of 536 acute CHD events occurred over a median (interquartile range) 5.8 (2.1) years of follow-up. After adjustment for sociodemographics, lifestyle factors, and energy intake, highest consumers of the Southern pattern (characterized by added fats, fried food, eggs, organ and processed meats, and sugar-sweetened beverages) experienced a 56 percent higher hazard of acute CHD (comparing quartile 4 with quartile 1: hazard ratio, 1.56; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.17-2.08; P for trend across quartiles=0.003). Adding anthropometric and medical history variables to the model attenuated the association somewhat (hazard ratio, 1.37; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.01-1.85; P=0.036).”

The researchers concluded that a dietary pattern characteristic of the southern United States was linked to a greater hazard of CHD in the studied sample from diverse regions of the United States.

“Southern Dietary Pattern Is Associated With Hazard of Acute Coronary Heart Disease in the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) Study” was published in September in the journal Circulation.

Journal article: