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Approved Research

Dietary factors in relation to risks of major chronic diseases and mortality

Principal Investigator: Dr Tilman Kühn
Approved Research ID: 64426
Approval date: July 7th 2021

Lay summary

Aims: Our aim is to find out how strongly dietary factors are related to risks of common chronic diseases (diabetes, heart attack, stroke, cancer) and life expectancy (overall and free of diseases).

Scientific rationale: It is hard to say how important diet is for the prevention of common chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases (heart attack, stroke) or cancer. This is because people, who report favourable dietary preferences (e.g. higher amounts of fruit and vegetables, lower amounts of meat and junk food) in studies also have other preferences that may be more or as important for health. Examples include non-smoking, normal weight or low alcohol consumption. At the same time, many common medications such as aspirin may protect against diseases, even if someone follows an unhealthy diet. However, medication use is often not accounted for in studies on diet. The same is true for genetic factors. With our project, we aim to study the role of dietary factors for the prevention of common diseases. Our multinational and interdisciplinary team will consider important background factors (e.g. education level, obesity, smoking, genetic factors, medication use) and apply innovative statistical methods (e.g. so-called mediation analyses, mendelian randomization, restriction) to evaluate the impact of diet on risks of chronic diseases and life expectancy.   

Project duration: 3 Years.

Public health impact: With our project we aim to deliver important information on diet and health that can be used for updates of dietary recommendations and guidelines.