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R. R. Sutter, R. Voland, L. Tinker, M. Neuhouser, A. Boynton, S. Moeller, R. Chappell, J. Mares; Relations Between Healthy Eating Index Score and Intake of Nutrients Suspected to Protect Against Age-Related Eye Disease, an Ancillary Study of the Women’s Health Initiative. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2008;49(13):1763. doi: https://doi.org/.
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High scores for comprehensive dietary indices may reflect numerous aspects of diet that may reduce risk for age-related cataract and macular degeneration (AMD). The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between one such score that reflects adherence to the 1995 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and intake of nutrients which are suspected to protect against age-related eye diseases.
The sample included women who participated in the Carotenoids in Age-Related Eye Disease (CAREDS) study (N=1802) in 2001-2004 from the Iowa City, IA, Portland, OR, and Madison, WI sites and whose lutein and zeaxanthin intakes at baseline (in 1994-1998) were above the 78th or below the 28th percentiles. Dietary intake was estimated using food frequency questionnaires (FFQs) in women 50-79 years of age at baseline entry into the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI). Average daily dietary intake was used to determine adherence to the 1995 Dietary Guidelines for Americans as measured by Healthy Eating Index (HEI) score. Subjects were divided into quintiles according to HEI score and mean intakes of nutrients were calculated for each quintile.
High HEI vs. low HEI scores were associated with greater food intakes of those nutrients that have been shown to reduce progression from intermediate to advanced AMD in AREDS: Women in highest vs. lowest quintiles had, on average, 17% higher intake of vitamin E, 142% higher intake of vitamin C, 164% higher intake of beta-carotene, and 48% higher intake of zinc (p<0.0001) at baseline. They also had 32% higher intake of vitamin D, 142% higher intake of lutein and zeaxanthin, and 64% lower fat intake (p<0.0001), which also have been related to AMD and/or cataract in some studies.
Adherence to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans increases the intake of nutrients that may protect against age-related eye diseases and can be offered as an alternative strategy to taking supplements to lower risk for age-related eye diseases.
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