Cardiometabolic diseases

Cardiometabolic diseases are the leading cause of death in western societies, and strongly increasing in low- and middle-income countries. The burden of cardiometabolic diseases is largely preventable by maintaining a healthy lifestyle including sufficient physical activity, limited alcohol use and a healthy diet.

Cardiometabolic diseases include diseases of the heart including coronary heart disease, stroke, heart failure and other disorders that affect the heart and blood vessels. It also comprises other conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Underlying pathophysiological processes are atherosclerosis, thrombosis, inflammation and endothelial dysfunction. Modifiable biological risk factors include elevated blood pressure, atherogenic blood lipid profile and impaired glucose tolerance.

At the chair group Nutrition and Disease, within the Division of Human Nutrition and Health, the effect of nutrients, foods, dietary patterns and other lifestyle factors on classical and emerging risk factors and underlying pathophysiological processes for cardiometabolic diseases are studied. We study a wide range of dietary exposures, for example salt and other minerals, polyphenols, animal and vegetable protein, omega-3 and other polyunsaturated fatty acids, dairy products, fruit and vegetables, and dietary patterns.

We perform intervention studies in patient populations (e.g. Voed Je Beter) in close collaboration with (university) hospitals. Also prospective cohort studies and meta-analyses are performed to quantify the associations between diet, lifestyle factors and cardiometabolic diseases including kidney disease and liver disease. For this, we make use of several observational cohort studies including the Alpha Omega Cohort which is a cohort of 4,837 patients with a history of myocardial infarction. We work on healthy and sustainable diets in close collaboration with colleagues from the chair group Global Nutrition.

We aim to contribute to (personalized) dietary recommendations. We put efforts in translating our research findings to society and public health policy through guideline committees and health authoritative bodies.

Current key projects