Diet quality assessment and the relationship between diet quality and cardiovascular disease risk

Kristina S. Petersen, Penny M. Kris-Etherton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the U.S. and globally. Dietary risk factors contribute to over half of all CVD deaths and CVD-related disability. The aim of this narrative review is to describe methods used to assess diet quality and the current state of evidence on the relationship between diet quality and risk of CVD. The findings of the review will be discussed in the context of current population intake patterns and dietary rec-ommendations. Several methods are used to calculate diet quality: (1) a priori indices based on dietary recommendations; (2) a priori indices based on foods or dietary patterns associated with risk of chronic disease; (3) exploratory data-driven methods. Substantial evidence from prospective cohort studies shows that higher diet quality, regardless of the a priori index used, is associated with a 14–29% lower risk of CVD and 0.5–2.2 years greater CVD-free survival time. Limited evidence is available from randomized controlled trials, although evidence shows healthy dietary patterns improve risk factors for CVD and lower CVD risk. Current dietary guidance for general health and CVD prevention and management focuses on following a healthy dietary pattern throughout the lifespan. High diet quality is a unifying component of all dietary recommendations and should be the focus of national food policies and health promotion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4305
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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