Purpose: A healthy diet may contribute to the primary prevention of heart failure (HF), but evidence is still inconclusive. We aimed to study the association between adherence to the Dutch dietary guidelines and incidence of HF. Methods: We studied 37,468 participants aged 20–70 years and free of HF at baseline from the EPIC-NL cohort. At baseline (1993–1997), data were collected on demographics, lifestyle, and presence of chronic diseases. Dietary intake was assessed using a 178-item validated food frequency questionnaire. Dietary intake data were used to calculate scores on the Dutch Healthy Diet 2015 Index (DHD15-index) measuring adherence to the Dutch dietary guidelines. The DHD15-index is based on the average daily intake of 14 food groups resulting in a total score ranging between 0 and 140, with higher scores indicating better adherence. HF morbidity and mortality during follow-up were ascertained through linkage with national registries. Cox proportional hazards analysis was used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) for the association between DHD15 adherence and HF risk, adjusting for sociodemographic and lifestyle characteristics. Results: The average score on the DHD15-index was 71 (SD = 15). During a median follow-up of 15.2 years (IQR 14.1–16.5), 674 HF events occurred. After adjustment for demographic and lifestyle characteristics, higher scores on the DHD15-index were associated with lower risk of HF (HRQ4vsQ1 0.73; 95% CI 0.58–0.93; Ptrend 0.001). Conclusion: In a large Dutch population of middle-aged adults, higher adherence to the Dutch dietary guidelines was associated with lower risk of HF.
- Dietary patterns
- Dutch dietary guidelines
- Dutch Healthy Diet 2015 Index
- Heart failure