Overall Adherence to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Is Associated with Reduced Prevalence of Early Age-Related Nuclear Lens Opacities in Women.


Moeller SM, Taylor A, Tucker KL, McCullough ML, Chylack LT Jr, Hankinson SE, Willett WC, Jacques PF.




J Nutr


Few studies have examined the efficacy of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans in the prevention of age-related chronic disease, such as age-related cataract. We examined whether adherence to the Guidelines was associated with a lower prevalence of age-related nuclear lens opacities in women. Eye exams were conducted in 479 Nurses' Health Study participants aged 52 to 73 y without previously diagnosed cataract or diabetes living in the Boston, MA area. Four FFQs, collected during a 9- to 11-y period before evaluation of lens status, were used to define diet quality according to the following: 1) daily number of servings of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; 2) Recommended Foods Score (RFS); and 3) Healthy Eating Index (HEI). Nuclear opacities were defined as scores >/= 2.5 using the Lens Opacification Classification System III. After adjusting for age, smoking, and other risk factors, women in the highest quartile category of HEI scores were significantly less likely to have nuclear opacities than those in the lowest category [odds ratio (OR) = 0.47; 95% CI: 0.26-0.84]. This association appeared to be stronger among nonusers of supplemental vitamin C (OR = 0.23; 95% CI: 0.10-0.52). Decreased prevalence odds of nuclear opacities were also observed with high intake of fruit (OR = 0.58; 95% CI: 0.32-1.05) and whole grains (OR = 0.64; 95% CI: 0.36-1.15). These results suggest that overall compliance with the Dietary Guidelines, as measured by the HEI, protects against nuclear opacities.