Adherence to Dietary Recommendations Lowers the Risk of All-cause Mortality and Fatal CVD

Pavankumar Kamat


July 08, 2021


  • Adherence to a greater number of World Health Organization (WHO) dietary recommendations was associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality and fatal cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Why this matters

  • Findings suggest that motivating and supporting more people to adhere to dietary guidelines may increase healthy life expectancy.

Study design

  • A study of 115,051 participants from the UK Biobank who provided ≥2 valid 24-hour dietary assessments.

  • Dietary data were obtained from the Oxford WebQ and a brief touchscreen questionnaire.

  • Adherence to dietary recommendations was defined based on WHO criteria: ≤10% saturated fats, ≤10% free sugars, ≥25 g/day fibre and ≥5 servings of fruits and vegetables/day.

  • Funding: None.

Key results

  • Among all participants, only 29.7%, 38.5%, 22.3% and 9.5% met 0, 1, 2 and 3/4 recommendations, respectively.

  • Increasing adherence to dietary recommendations was associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality (HR; 95% CI):

    • 1 recommendation (0.96; 0.91-1.01);

    • 2 recommendations (0.91; 0.85-0.97); and

    • 3/4 recommendations (0.79; 0.71-0.88; Ptrend<.001).

  • No significant association was observed with CVD risk, but the risk of fatal CVD was significantly lower in participants who met 3 or 4 recommendations (HR, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.61-0.98).


  • Results were susceptible to measurement error due to self-reporting of dietary intake.


Kebbe M, Gao M, Perez-Cornago A, Jebb SA, Piernas C. Adherence to international dietary recommendations in association with all-cause mortality and fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular disease risk: a prospective analysis of UK Biobank participants. BMC Med. 2021;19(1):134. doi: 10.1186/s12916-021-02011-7. PMID: 34158032847945.  View full text

This clinical summary originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


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