Dietary patterns derived from principal component- and k-means cluster analysis: Long-term association with coronary heart disease and stroke

Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases, 05/31/2012

PCA and k–means cluster analysis (KCA) found similar underlying patterns with comparable associations with CHD and stroke risk. A prudent pattern reduced the risk of CHD and stroke.


  • The study was conducted in the EPIC–NL cohort that consists of 40,011 men and women.
  • Baseline dietary intake was measured using a validated food–frequency questionnaire.
  • Food items were consolidated into 31 food groups.
  • Occurrence of CHD and stroke was assessed through linkage with registries.
  • After 13 years of follow–up, 1,843 CHD and 588 stroke cases were documented.
  • Both PCA and KCA extracted a prudent pattern (high intakes of fish, high–fiber products, raw vegetables, wine) and a western pattern (high consumption of French fries, fast food, low–fiber products, other alcoholic drinks, soft drinks with sugar) with small variation between components and clusters.


  • The prudent component was associated with a reduced risk of CHD (HR for extreme quartiles: 0.87; 95%–CI: 0.75–1.00) and stroke (0.68; 0.53–0.88).
  • The western component was not related to any outcome.
  • The prudent cluster was related with a lower risk of CHD (0.91; 0.82–1.00) and stroke (0.79; 0.67–0.94) compared to the western cluster.

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