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Prevention of Non Communicable Diseases

Phytochemical index and hypertension in Korean adults using data from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 2008–2019



Although previous in vivo and in vitro studies have reported the beneficial effects of phytochemical-rich food on cardiovascular health, limited information is available regarding its’ health effect on the community-dwelling population. This is especially true in Korea. Here, we examined the cross-sectional association between phytochemical levels and hypertension in Korean adults.


We analyzed data from 38,198 Koreans aged ≥30 years who participated in the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2008–2019) and met the study’s inclusion criteria. The Korean version of the Phytochemical Index (PI) was computed based on 24 h recall data. Hypertension was defined based on the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association definition in 2017. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to examine the association between PI and hypertension.


In the multivariable adjusted model, participants in the highest PI quintile had a significantly low prevalence of hypertension (Odd ratio, 0.86; 95% confidence interval, 0.79–0.95). A dose-response analysis confirmed the inverse linearity between PI and hypertension (p for nonlinearity = 0.2634).


Consumption of phytochemical-rich foods may lower the prevalence of hypertension. A large-scale, prospective cohort study is required to validate these findings.

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Fig. 1: Multivariable adjusted odds ratio (95% confidence intervals) for the nonlinear relationship between phytochemical index and the prevalence of hypertension in Koreans.


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The data examined in this study were obtained from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, National Research Institute of Health, Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Republic of Korea.


This research was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) (grant number: NRF-2021R1A2C1007869). The funding sponsors had no role in the study design, data collection, data analyses, data interpretation, writing of the paper, or decision to publish the results.

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Authors and Affiliations



UJ contributed to writing the original draft, formal analysis, visualization, and software. KP contributed to the conceptualization, supervision, project administration, resources, funding acquisition, validation, and discussion and edited the paper. All authors read and agreed to the final version of the paper.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Kyong Park.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

Ethics approval

The present study was approved by the institutional review boards of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (approval numbers: 2008-04EXP-01-C, 2009-01CON-03-2C, 2010-02CON-21-C, 2011-02CON-06-C, 2012-01EXP-01-2C, 2013-07CON-03-4C, 2013-12EXP-03-5C, 2018-01-03-P-A, and 2018-01-03-C-A). Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES) 2015–2017 was conducted without ethical review according to the opinion of the Research Ethics Review Committee of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

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Jo, U., Park, K. Phytochemical index and hypertension in Korean adults using data from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 2008–2019. Eur J Clin Nutr (2022).

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