Plant-based diets and risk of multimorbidity: The Health and Retirement Study.

TitlePlant-based diets and risk of multimorbidity: The Health and Retirement Study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of PublicationForthcoming
AuthorsVega-Cabello, V, Hiani, MAl, Yévenes-Briones, H, Caballero, FFélix, Lopez-García, E, Baylin, A
JournalThe Journal of Nutrition
ISSN Number1541-6100
KeywordsChronic disease, diet quality, multimorbidity, Older Adults, plant-based diet

BACKGROUND: Plant-based diets have gained attention due to their beneficial effects against major chronic diseases, though its association with multimorbidity is mostly unknow.

OBJECTIVE: We examined the association between the healthful (hPDI) and unhealthful plant-based diet indices (uPDI) with multimorbidity among middle-aged and older adults from the U.S.

METHODS: Data on 4,262 adults over 50 years was drawn from the 2012-2020 Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and 2013 Health Care and Nutrition Study (HCNS). Food consumption was collected at baseline with a food frequency questionnaire and two plant-based diet indices were derived: the hPDI, with positive scores for healthy plant foods and reverse scores for less healthy plant foods and animal foods; and the uPDI, with only positive scoring for less healthy plant foods. Complex multimorbidity, defined as ≥3 co-existent conditions, was ascertained with 8 self-reported conditions: hypertension, diabetes, cancer, chronic lung disease, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, and depression. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate the hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

RESULTS: After a median follow-up of 7.8 years, we documented 1,202 incident cases of multimorbidity. Compared with the lowest quartile, higher adherence to the hPDI was inversely associated with multimorbidity [HR (95% CI) for quartiles 3 and 4 were 0.77 (0.62-0.96) and 0.79 (0.63-0.98) respectively, p trend=0.02]. In addition, a 10-point increment in the hPDI was associated with a 11% lower incidence of multimorbidity (95% CI: 1%-20%). No significant associations were found for the uPDI after adjusting for sociodemographic and lifestyle factors.

CONCLUSIONS: Higher adherence to the hPDI was inversely associated with multimorbidity among middle-age and older adults. Plant-based diets that emphasize consumption of high-quality plant foods may help prevent the development of complex multimorbidity.

Citation Key13947
PubMed ID38705471