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21-03-2011 | Cardiometabolic | Article

DASH diet could help improve cardiovascular health in diabetic youth


Free abstract

MedWire News: Adherence to the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet helps to improve cardiometabolic factors in addition to blood pressure in young people with diabetes, report researchers.

Consumption of the DASH diet has been demonstrated to improve various aspects of cardiovascular health in nondiabetics and diabetics alike, as reported by MedWire News.

Drawing on their previous finding of a beneficial effect on blood pressure in young people with diabetes who consume the DASH diet, Angela Liese (University of South Carolina, Columbia, USA) and colleagues assessed whether following the diet could also improve other cardiovascular risk factors in a group of 2130 young people with Type 1 (n=1810) or Type 2 diabetes (n=320), aged 10 to 22 years.

Liese and team evaluated dietary intake using a food frequency questionnaire that was categorized into eight DASH food groups, namely, grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, meat, nuts/seeds/legumes, fats/oils, and sweets, resulting in an adherence score between 0 and 80.

Adherence was estimated by giving a score for each healthy food group (grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, and nuts/seeds/legumes) of a maximum of 10 points if the intake met recommendations, with proportional scoring for lower intakes.

Reverse scoring was used for the unhealthy food groups (meat, fats/oils, and sweets), with a score of zero given for a consumption level that was two or more times the recommended DASH limit.

Mean DASH adherence scores in the participants with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes were fairly low at 39.9 and 36.4, respectively, indicating that most of the young people were consuming an unhealthy diet.

Type 1 diabetics in the highest tertile for DASH diet adherence had a significantly lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) to high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol ratio (0.07 lower), and glycated hemoglobin level (0.2% lower) than those in the lowest tertile.

In the Type 2 diabetic group, those in the highest tertile for DASH adherence had higher LDL particle density (0.01 higher flotation rate) and a lower body mass index Z score (0.24 lower) than those in the lowest tertile.

Notably, no significant differences were observed between the top and bottom tertiles for adherence in either diabetic group for triglyceride, adipocytokine, or apolipoprotein B levels, or for waist circumference.

The team concludes in the journal Circulation that "the DASH dietary pattern may prove beneficial in the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease risk in this vulnerable population of youth with diabetes mellitus, among whom there is clearly much room for improvement in the quality of dietary intake."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Helen Albert


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