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Major dietary patterns and cardiovascular risk factors from childhood to adulthood. The Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study

  • Vera Mikkilä (a1), Leena Räsänen (a1), Olli T. Raitakari (a2), Jukka Marniemi (a3), Pirjo Pietinen (a4), Tapani Rönnemaa (a5) and Jorma Viikari (a5)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 July 2007

Studies on the impact of single nutrients on the risk of CVD have often given inconclusive results. Recent research on dietary patterns has offered promising information on the effects of diet as a whole on the risk of CVD. The Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study is an ongoing, prospective cohort study with a 21-year follow-up to date. The subjects were children and adolescents at baseline (3–18 years, n 1768) and adults at the latest follow-up study (24–39 years, n 1037). We investigated the associations between two major dietary patterns and several risk factors for CVD. In longitudinal analyses with repeated measurements, using multivariate mixed linear regression models, the traditional dietary pattern (characterised by high consumption of rye, potatoes, butter, sausages, milk and coffee) was independently associated with total and LDL cholesterol concentrations, apolipoprotein B and C-reactive protein concentrations among both genders, and also with systolic blood pressure and insulin levels among women and concentrations of homocysteine among men (P < 0·05 for all). A dietary pattern reflecting more health-conscious food choices (such as high consumption of vegetables, legumes and nuts, tea, rye, cheese and other dairy products, and alcoholic beverages) was inversely, but less strongly associated with cardiovascular risk factors. Our results support earlier findings that dietary patterns have a role in the development of CVD.

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*Corresponding author: Dr V. Mikkilä, fax +358 (0)9 191 58269, email
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