- A new, simple food-based obesity preventive score has been developed
- Dietary Obesity Prevention Score (DOPS) is the new food-based score
- DOPS helps predict future risk of overweight or obesity in healthy adults
A new food-based score has been developed that helps predict the individuals are at long-term risk of overweight or obesity in adulthood, reveals new research.
The Dietary Obesity Prevention Score (DOPS)
is the new food-based score, where dietary intake is measured with a simple food-frequency questionnaire. This food-based score can help individuals improve their eating habits, create awareness on the risks, as well as help doctors identify high-risk individuals, so as to provide preventive counseling before the onset of overweight or obesity.
‘Dietary Obesity Prevention Score (DOPS) helps individuals improve eating habits, create awareness on the risks, aid doctors in identifying high-risk individuals and provides preventive counseling .’
Consuming an unhealthy diet can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even some cancers. For decades, many countries have been challenged to raise awareness about eating healthy and the importance of nutrition. One in five deaths that occur worldwide is caused due to poor diet.
Link between the Score and Risk of Overweight and Obesity
An evidence-based DOPS was created by the research team Clara Gómez-Donoso and colleagues from the University of Navarra in Spain.
The team examined the link between the score and the incidence of overweight and obesity in about 11,349 middle-aged adults have been selected from the SUN Cohort, a prospective dynamic cohort of Spanish university graduates. These individuals had normal body weight at the beginning of the study.
The score was created based on the intake of 14 food groups that have the potential to either promote or protect against overweight or obesity, which were adjusted for their total energy intake.
The DOPS has foods that weigh both positively and negatively. The foods that weighted positively were fruits and vegetables, legumes, yogurt, nuts, fish, and vegetable to animal protein ratio. The negatively weighted foods were red meat, processed meat, saturated animal fat, ultra-processed food, sugar-sweetened beverages, refined grains, beer and spirits.
A validated food-frequency questionnaire was used to measure how many individuals were adherent to the DOPS at the beginning of the study and also after ten years.
Adherence to the DOPS ranged from 42 (complete adherence) to 14 (non-adherence). A higher score indicated that individuals consumed higher amounts of plant-based foods and lower amounts of risk-promoting dietary component.
Simple Obesity Preventive Score
After 10 years, the research team had a follow-up and found that about 2153 of the participants had become either overweight or obese.
The research team found that participants with the highest adherence to the DOPS (score 35 or over) were almost half as likely to become overweight/obese as those with the lowest adherence to the DOPS (score 20 or under).
Professor Maria Bes-Rastrollo concludes: "We hope that our easy-to-implement preventive score might be developed into a rapid assessment tool to provide both individuals and doctors with helpful dietary guidance raising awareness of diet susceptibility to weight gain in the long-term and encouraging healthier eating patterns. The performance of the score has yet to be validated in independent cohorts. Future research will increase the accuracy of outcome predictions in different populations and age groups."
Each 4-point increment in the DOPS scale was linked to a 13 percent lower risk of developing overweight or obesity after adjusting for a number of factors such as age, sex, family history of obesity, baseline body mass index, sleep duration, smoking, and physical activity.
This study only shows an observational difference rather than evidence of cause and effect. The study also had few limitations associated with the methodology, the results of the questionnaire were based on self-reported dietary intake and only Caucasian adults were included in the study.
The new research was presented at European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Vienna, Austria.