To investigate the association between the Alternate Healthy Eating Index 2010 (AHEI-2010)--a measure of diet quality--and the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Prospective cohort study.
Participants in the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, United States.
73,228 female nurses from 1984 to 2000 and 47,026 men from 1986 to 1998, who completed biennial questionnaires.
The primary outcome was the self report of newly diagnosed COPD. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards models were adjusted for age, physical activity, body mass index, total energy intake, smoking, second hand tobacco exposure (only in the Nurses' Health Study), race/ethnicity, physician visits, US region, spouse's highest educational attainment (only in the Nurses' Health Study), and menopausal status (only in the Nurses' Health Study).
Over the study period, 723 cases of newly diagnosed COPD occurred in women and 167 in men. In the pooled analysis, a significant negative association was seen between the risk of newly diagnosed COPD and fifths of the AHEI-2010: hazard ratios were 0.81 (95% confidence interval 0.51 to 1.29) for the second fifth, 0.98 (0.80 to 1.18) for the third fifth, 0.74 (0.59 to 0.92) for the fourth fifth, and 0.67 (0.53 to 0.85) for participants who ate the healthiest diet according to the AHEI-2010 (that is, were in the highest fifth), compared with those who ate the less healthy diet (participants in the lowest fifth). Similar findings were observed among ex-smokers and current smokers.
A higher AHEI-2010 diet score (reflecting high intakes of whole grains, polyunsaturated fatty acids, nuts, and long chain omega-3 fats and low intakes of red/processed meats, refined grains, and sugar sweetened drinks) was associated with a lower risk of COPD in both women and men. These findings support the importance of a healthy diet in multi-interventional programs to prevent COPD.