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Variation in cardiovascular disease risk factors among older adults in the Hunter Community Study cohort; a comparison of diet quality versus polygenic risk score.

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posted on 2022-09-05, 03:30 authored by William R Reay, Rebecca Haslam, Murray J Cairns, George MoschonisGeorge Moschonis, Erin Clarke, John Attia, Clare Elizabeth Collins
Background: The interplay between cardiovascular disease (CVD) genetic risk indexed by a polygenic risk score (PRS) and diet quality still requires further investigation amongst older adults or those with established or treated CVD. The present study aimed to evaluate the relative contribution of diet quality, measured using the Australian Recommended Food Score (ARFS) and PRS, with respect to explaining variation in plasma lipids CVD outcomes in the Hunter Cohort. Methods: The study comprised a secondary analysis of cross-sectional data from the Hunter Cohort study. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms from previously derived polygenic scores (PGSs) for three lipid classes were obtained: low-density lipoprotein, high-density lipoprotein and triglycerides, as well as PRS for coronary artery disease (CAD) from the PGS catalogue. Regression modelling and odds ratios were used to determine associations between PRS, ARFS and CVD risk. Results: In total, 1703 participants were included: mean ± SD age 66 ± 7.4 years, 51% female, mean ± SD total ARFS 28.1 ± 8 (out of 74). Total diet quality and vegetable subscale were not significantly associated with measured lipids. By contrast, PGS for each lipid demonstrated a markedly strong, statistically significant correlation with its respective measured lipid. There was a significant association between CAD PRS and 5/6 CVD phenotypes (all except atrial fibrillation), with the largest effect size shown with coronary bypass. Adding dietary intake as a covariate did not change this relationship. Conclusions: Lipid PGS explained more variance in measured lipids than diet quality. However, the poor diet quality observed in the current cohort may have limited the ability to observe any beneficial effects. Future research should investigate whether the diet quality of older adults can be improved and also the effect of these improvements on changes in polygenic risk.


This publication is based on data that was collected as part of the Hunter Community Study (HCS). We thank the men and women who participated in the HCS and the staff, investigators and collaborators who have supported or been involved in HCS to date. The current analysis did not receive specific funding. William R. Reay is supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grant (1147644). Murray J. Cairns is supported by an NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship (1121474) and a University of Newcastle College of Health Medicine and Wellbeing, Gladys M. Brawn Senior Fellowship. Open access publishing facilitated by The University of Newcastle, as part of the Wiley-The University of Newcastle agreement via the Council of Australian University Librarians.


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Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics






25p. (p. 675-688)





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This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial‐NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non‐commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made. © 2022 The Authors. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Dietetic Association.

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