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Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program

Dietary Patterns Methods Project

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Jill Reedy, PhD, MPH, RD
Branch Chief, Risk Factor Assessment Branch


The Dietary Patterns Methods Project was initiated to strengthen the scientific evidence base on dietary patterns and inform the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

The project aimed to compare key diet quality indices and their associations with cancer and cardiovascular disease mortality. These indices include the Mediterranean Diet Score, Healthy Eating Index, Alternate Healthy Eating Index, and DASH Scores. An index-based approach to dietary patterns was chosen because this method addresses the complexity of diet, multicollinearity between dietary components, and can be readily translated into dietary recommendations.

Parallel analyses were completed within three cohorts:

Related Publications

The findings from the Dietary Patterns Methods Project have been published, and can be found in the manuscripts cited below.

Liese AD, Krebs-Smith SM, Subar AF, George SM, Harmon BE, Neuhouser ML, Boushey CJ, Schap TE, Reedy J. The Dietary Patterns Methods Project: Synthesis of Findings across Cohorts and Relevance to Dietary Guidance. J. Nutr. 2015 Mar; 145(3): 393-402.

Harmon BE, Boushey CJ, Shvetsov YB, Ettienne R, Reedy J, Wilkens LR, et al. Associations of key diet-quality indexes with mortality in the Multiethnic Cohort: the Dietary Patterns Methods Project. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Mar;101(3):587-97.

George SM, Ballard-Barbash R, Manson JE, Reedy J, Shikany JM, Subar AF, Tinker LF, Vitolins M, Neuhouser ML. Comparing indices of diet quality with chronic disease mortality in postmenopausal women in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study: Evidence to inform national dietary guidance. Amer J Epid. 2014 Sep 15; 180(6): 616-25.

Reedy J, Krebs-Smith SM, Miller PE, Liese AD, Kahle LL, Park Y, Subar AF. Higher diet quality is associated with decreased risk of all-cause, cardiovascular disease, and cancer mortality among older adults. J Nutr. 2014 Jun; 144(6): 881-9.

McCullough ML. Diet patterns and mortality: Common threads and consistent results. J Nutr. 2014 Jun; 144(6): 795-6.

Collaborative Opportunities

The study coordinators welcome the opportunity to work with other partners to extend the project's aims. These goals include:

  • applying these same methods in other US and international cohorts; and
  • correcting for measurement error in all models.