January 24, 2024

Association of a healthy beverage score with total mortality in the adult population of Spain: A nationwide cohort study

M Rodriguez-Ayala et al, 2024. Association of a healthy beverage score with total mortality in the adult population of Spain: A nationwide cohort study, PloS One.


Background: Despite the substantial evidence of the relationship between diet and mortality, the role of beverage consumption patterns is not well known. The aim of this study was to assess the association of the adherence to a Healthy Beverage Score (HBS) and all-cause mortality in a representative sample of the Spanish adult population.

Methods and findings: We conducted an observational cohort study using data from the Study on Nutrition and Cardiovascular Risk in Spain (ENRICA), which included 12,161 community-dwelling individuals aged ≥18 years recruited in 2008 to 2010 and followed until January 2022. At baseline, food consumption was collected using a validated diet history. The HBS consists of 7 items, each of which is scored from 1 to 4 (highest adherence). The HBS ranges from 7 to 28 points with a higher score representing a healthier pattern. Adherence was assigned as a higher consumption of low-fat milk, and coffee and tea, a lower consumption of whole-fat milk, no consumption of fruit juice, artificially sweetened beverages, or sugar-sweetened beverages, and no or moderate consumption of alcohol. Total mortality was ascertained by linkage to the Spanish National Death Index. Statistical analyses were performed with Cox models and adjusted for the main confounders, including sociodemographic, lifestyle, dietary variables, and morbidity. After a mean follow-up of 12.5 years (SD: 1.7; range: 0.5 to 12.9), a total of 967 deaths occurred. For all-cause mortality, the fully adjusted hazard ratio (HR) for the highest versus lowest sex-specific quartiles of HBS was 0.72 (95% confidence interval [0.57, 0.91], p linear-trend = 0.015), corresponding to an 8.3% reduction in the absolute risk of death. A linear relationship between the risk of death and the adherence to the HBS was observed using restricted cubic splines. The results were robust to sensitivity analyses. The main limitation was that repeated measurements on beverage consumption were not available and beverage consumption could have changed during follow-up.

Conclusions: In this study, we observed that higher adherence to the HBS was associated with lower total mortality. Adherence to a healthy beverage pattern could play a role in the prevention of premature mortality.

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