Objective We assessed the mediating effects of metabolic components on the relationship between fruit or vegetable intake and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Design Cross-sectional study. Setting This study was conducted using data from the 2013-2015 Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which is a national representative cross-sectional survey to assess health and nutritional status in the Korean population. Method and analysis A total of 9040 subjects (3555 males and 5485 females) aged ≥25 years were included in the study. Physician-diagnosed CVD via self-report was used as the outcome. Fruit or vegetable intake was measured via a dish-based semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire and grouped into categories (<1 time/day, 1 time/day, 2 times/day and ≥3 times/day). Systolic blood pressure (SBP), cholesterol and fasting glucose were considered metabolic mediators, and the bootstrap method was used to assess mediating effect. Results About 1.8% of adults aged 25-64 years had CVD. According to the result of 'process' macro, the confounder-adjusted risk for CVD decreased by 14% (OR=0.86, 95% CI 0.74 to 0.98) as fruit, but not vegetable, intake was increased by one unit per day. After additional adjustment for three metabolic factors simultaneously, the OR was attenuated to 0.89 (95% CI 0.77 to 1.03). This result indicates that the indirect effect of three metabolic factors accounted for 21.4% of the relationship between fruit intake and CVD. SBP was a more important metabolic mediator than the other factors. The indirect effect by metabolic factors accounted for 30.0% when body mass index was additionally controlled as a mediator, and SBP still had an independent effect compared with the other mediators. Conclusions Our results indicate that controlling SBP may lessen the CVD risk, and a diet rich in fruits can regulate SBP which, in turn, reduces CVD risk.
- blood pressure
- cardiovascular disease