Adherence to the healthy eating index-2010 and alternative healthy eating index-2010 in relation to metabolic syndrome among African Americans in the Jackson heart study

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Public health nutrition








African Americans; Alternative Healthy Eating Index; Dietary quality; Healthy Eating Index; Jackson Heart study; Metabolic syndrome


OBJECTIVE: The primary objective of this study was to determine whether Healthy Eating Index (HEI) and Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI) scores were associated with incident metabolic syndrome. DESIGN: This study is a secondary analysis of data from the Jackson Heart Study. HEI and AHEI scores were divided into quintiles and Cox proportional hazards regression models were analysed for 1864 African American adults free from metabolic syndrome at Exam 1 to examine the incidence of metabolic syndrome by quintile of dietary quality score. SETTING: Hinds, Madison and Rankin counties, Mississippi, USA. PARTICIPANTS: African American adults, ages 21-94 years, 60·9 % female. RESULTS: Over a mean follow-up time of 6·7 years, we observed 932 incident cases of metabolic syndrome. After adjusting for multiple covariates, a higher HEI score at Exam 1 was not associated with the risk of incident metabolic syndrome, except when looking at the trend analysis for the subgroup of adults with two metabolic syndrome components at Exam 1 ( = 0·03). A higher AHEI score at Exam 1 was associated with the risk of incident metabolic syndrome (hazard ratio for those in the highest quintile compared to the lowest: 0·80 (95 % CI: 0·65, 0·99), = 0·03). CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that a dietary pattern that scores higher on the AHEI may help reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome, even for adults who already have two of the minimum of three components required for a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome.


Exercise and Nutrition Sciences