Planetary Health Diet Index Linked to Lower Total, Cause-Specific Mortality

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Reductions seen in death from a variety of causes; PHDI scores were also associated with environmental impact

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, June 10, 2024 (HealthDay News) — A higher Planetary Health Diet Index (PHDI) is associated with a lower risk for total and cause-specific mortality, according to a study published online June 10 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Linh P. Bui, M.D., Ph.D., from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues developed a PHDI to quantify adherence to the EAT-Lancet reference diet and examined associations between PHDI and total and cause-specific mortality in three prospective cohorts: 66,692 women from the Nurses’ Health Study; 92,438 women from the Nurses’ Health Study II; and 47,274 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Using a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire, the PHDI was calculated every four years.

A total of 31,330 deaths were documented among women and 23,206 among men during up to 34 years of follow-up. The researchers found that the pooled multivariable-adjusted hazard ratio was 0.77 for all-cause mortality comparing the highest with the lowest quintile of PHDI. The PHDI was associated with a lower risk for deaths from cardiovascular diseases, cancer, respiratory diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases (hazard ratios, 0.86, 0.90, 0.53, and 0.72, respectively). The PHDI was also significantly associated with a lower risk for death from infectious diseases in women but not men (hazard ratio, 0.62). Inverse associations were seen for PHDI scores with greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts.

“Our results support reductions in death from a variety of diseases with increasing adherence to a healthy and environmentally sustainable dietary pattern described by the EAT-Lancet Commission,” the authors write.

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