Rationale and Objectives The sensitivity of dietary indexes to measure changes in dietary habits is unclear. The objective of the study was to investigate whether 5-year changes in the Dietary Quality Score (DQS), Healthy Eating Index, Dietary Quality Index (DQI) and the Mediterranean diet score were associated with changes in dietary related cardiovascular (CVD) risk factors.
Materials and Methods A random sample of 13 016 men and women aged 30–60 years were invited for a 5-year lifestyle intervention programme. A total of 4562 were included in the statistical analysis. The association between changes in dietary indexes and changes in CVD risk factors was investigated in multiple linear regression models.
Results and Findings Improved dietary habits according to the DQS at 5-year follow-up was significant negatively associated with changes in weight (p=0.01), waist circumference (p=0.009), total cholesterol (p=0.02), LDL cholesterol (p=0.006). The Mediterranean diet score was significantly associated with weight (p=0.001) and diastolic blood pressure (p=0.02), the DQI was borderline significant associated with weight and waist circumference, whereas no significant association was found for the Healthy Eating Index.
Conclusion Changes in the simple DQS were stronger associated with changes in CVD risk factors than the more complex dietary indexes.