Association between dietary intakes and cardiovascular risk of Canadians


As a leading cause of mortality in Canada, cardiometabolic diseases have been a longstanding priority for researchers and healthcare professionals. Lifestyle modifications are a key strategy in the prevention and management of cardiometabolic disease and its complications. Specifically, adapted dietary recommendations based on the latest scientific evidence are critical in effectively managing and reducing cardiometabolic risk. 

As the final presentation in a series of 3 webinars on “Cardiometabolic Health and Risk Reduction – Findings from Recent Canadian Studies”, watch a webinar presented by Dr. Hassan Vatanparast.

Did you miss the other webinars in this series? Watch the first webinar (Cardiovascular health and the food matrix) and second webinar (Metabolic control, satiety, and diet across the lifespan).

CNS 3-part webinar series 2022
Association between dietary intakes and cardiovascular risk of Canadians
watch here

Note that this presentation is free of charge and accessible to both CNS members and non-members. 

By the end of the webinar, participants will:

  • Understand the concept of the dietary pattern approach in association with the risk of cardiovascular diseases;
  • Categorize which dietary patterns are associated with the risk of cardiovascular diseases and the cardiovascular age gap among Canadian adults;
  • Recognize the important role of diet in preventing cardiovascular diseases among Canadians.

Key topics addressed:

  • An overview of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD):
    • The current situation worldwide and in Canada;
    • Key concepts and definitions in cardiovascular health (risk factors, cardiovascular age, and risk assessment, etc.).
  • The concept of dietary patterns and how to measure dietary intake status;
  • The association between dietary patterns and intake of certain foods (dairy), cardiovascular risk reduction, and metabolic syndrome prevention.

Key Findings:

  • ASCVD is the second leading cause of death in Canada. 
  • The early detection of ASCVD risk is critical for implementing appropriate preventive strategies to reduce the risk of experiencing severe consequences:
    • Many tools assess cardiovascular risk to establish therapeutic or preventive strategies, such as the Framingham Risk Score tool, Systematic Coronary Risk Evaluation (SCORE), and “Global Cardiometabolic Risk” from the 2012 Canadian Cardiovascular Society Guidelines;
    • The cardiovascular age gap (CAG) refers to the difference between vascular age and chronological age.
  • Assessing dietary patterns can present a comprehensive picture of the usual, real-life diet and provide insight on how combinations of different foods influence ASCVD risk:
    • Index scores with multiple components are used to assess the adherence to dietary recommendations or a specific diet (ex. Measuring adherence to the Mediterranean diet);
    • Different methods for assessing dietary patterns exist (a priori, a posteriori, or hybrid).
  • A cross-sectional analysis using data from the Canadian Health Measures Survey (2007-2011) linked a lower CAG to a dietary pattern characterized by higher intakes of fruit, nuts, yogurt, spinach and ʻother vegetables’ and lower intakes of sausage and sport drinks;1
  • Evidence suggests that dairy has neutral or beneficial effects on CVD outcomes:2
    • There is no evidence of a higher risk of cardiovascular outcomes associated with the consumption of total and subtypes of dairy products, including full-fat dairy products.


  1. Hosseini Z et al. Association between the 10-year predicted risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and dietary patterns among Canadian adults 40–79 years. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2021;75(4):636-644.
  2. Chen Z et al. Dairy product consumption and cardiovascular health: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Advances in Nutrition 2022;13(2):439-454.



Dr. Hassan Vatanparast


Dr. H. Vatanparast is Professor of Nutritional Epidemiology at the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition and the School of Public Health, University of Saskatchewan. After his MD degree, he worked in the public health sector as an epidemiologist and public health administrator focusing on chronic disease prevention and control. He completed his PhD degree in nutritional epidemiology and a postdoctoral fellowship in kinesiology (diet, physical activity, and chronic diseases) at the University of Saskatchewan. He has served in several relevant international scientific associations and led various national and international research projects and interventional studies leading to numerous publications, conference presentations and, more importantly, positive change in target communities. Dr. Vatanparast has enjoyed training and working with several graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, along with teaching undergraduate students. Dr. Vatanparast and his coworkers are benefiting from strong multi-sectoral, multi-disciplinary collaboration in their initiatives.