Conference Contribution Details
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Harrington JM
European Society for Hypertension Summer School
DASH Diet score and distribution of blood pressure in middle aged men and women
Porto, Portugal
Oral Presentation
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Background:  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. 

Methods: Cross-sectional data from a study of men and women aged 47 to 73 years (n=2047). Participants completed a physical examination including three standardised clinical BP recordings. A sub-sample (n=1187) had ambulatory BP measurements (ABPM).  Diet was assessed using a DASH dietary score constructed from a standard FFQ. Lower scores indicated less healthy diets.   Hypertension was defined as clinic BP>140/90mmH/on medication; 24-hour ABPM >130/80mmHg. 

Results:  Inverse associations were evident between DASH and systolic BP (SBP). There was a difference in Clinic SBP of 7.5 mmHg and 5.1 mmHg and  a difference in ABPM  SBP  of  6.3 mmHg and 5.4 mmHg in men and women respectively between the highest and lowest DASH quintiles.  In fully adjusted multivariate regression analysis, DASH score was inversely associated with SBP.  Clear population differences in SBP were evident across DASH quintiles. 

Conclusions: 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 blood pressure in the population.  


Irish Heart Foundation