Adherence to the DASH-style Diet and the Presence of Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Adults from Tîrgu Mureș

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Background: Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including a healthy diet, weight control, regular exercise, smoking cessation, and alcohol limitation, plays an important role in treating high blood pressure and cardiovascular and chronic diseases.

Aim: This study aimed to investigate adherence to the DASH diet in relation to the occurrence of high blood pressure and chronic disease risk factors, in a group of people from Tîrgu Mureș.

Material and methods: This was a cross-sectional study based on a food frequency and lifestyle questionnaire applied to a group of 2,010 people aged 15–92 years from Tîrgu Mureș.

Results: Individuals over the age of 45 had higher DASH scores (Q4, Q5) compared to subjects younger than 40 years (Q1 and Q2, p <0.001). An important percentage (19.3%) of subjects who preferred a meat-based diet (Q3) had significantly larger abdominal circumference (mean 92.2 ± 0.91 cm, p <0.001). An association between pure alcohol intake (mean 5.6 ± 0.43 g) and an unhealthy diet (Q1) was observed, compared to the average 1.7 ± 19 g of alcohol consumed by subjects with a healthy diet (Q5), alcohol consumption decreasing with an increasing DASH score (p <0.001).

Conclusion: This study shows that individuals diagnosed with at least one cardiovascular risk factor had a higher adherence to the DASH diet than individuals with no cardiovascular risk factors, most likely due to the fact that diagnosed individuals had changed their eating behavior and lifestyle from the time of diagnosis, with a positive impact on treatment outcomes and quality of life.

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