Conference Contribution Details
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JM Harrington
European Society for Hypertension Summer School
DASH Diet Score and Distribution of Blood Pressure
Porto, Portugal
Oral Presentation
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The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Trial provides

critical data on the impact of a specific diet pattern (low in salt, fat, and

processed foods and high in fruit and vegetables) on blood pressure

(BP). The effect of compliance with a DASH-type diet on BP in a general

population sample is less well defined. We studied associations

between a DASH style diet and BP.


We used cross-sectional data from a study of men and women

aged 4773 years (n = 2,047). Participants completed a physical

examination that included 3 standardized clinical BP recordings.

A subsample (n = 1,187) had ambulatory BP measurements

(ABPM) taken. Diet was assessed using a DASH dietary score constructed

from a standard Food Frequency Questionnaire. Lower

scores indicated less healthy diets. Hypertension was defined as

clinic BP ≥ 140/90 mm Hg on medication or as 24-hour ABPM ≥

130/80 mmHg.


Inverse associations were evident between DASH and systolic BP (SBP).

There was a difference in clinic SBP of 7.5 mm Hg and 5.1 mm Hg and

a difference in ABPM SBP of 6.3 mm Hg and 5.4 mm Hg in men and

women, respectively, between the highest and lowest DASH quintiles.

In fully adjusted multivariable regression analysis, DASH score was

inversely associated with SBP. Clear population differences in SBP were

evident across DASH quintiles.


The observed associations indicate that the findings are consistent with

the hypothesis that adherence to DASH-equivalent diet can reduce BP

at the population level. Public policy promoting a DASH-style healthy

diet could have a significant impact on population health by reducing

average BP in the population.

HRB Centre for HEalth and Diet Research/Irish Heart Foundation