DOI: 10.1002/alz.072355 ISSN: 1552-5260

Association of MIND Diet with Cognitive Decline among African Americans and non‐Hispanic White Older Adults

Puja Agarwal
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Neurology (clinical)
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Health Policy
  • Epidemiology



Cognitive impairment is a significant public health problem. The Mediterranean‐DAH intervention for Neurogenerative Delay (MIND) diet is associated with slower cognitive decline and reduced Alzheimer’s dementia risk. However, most findings have been reported among predominantly White populations. In this study, we examined the association of the MIND diet with cognitive decline in the Chicago Health and Aging Project (CHAP), a population‐based study that is predominantly African American.


The study sample consisted of 5,259 participants (mean ± SD age = 73.5 ± 6.0 years, education = 12.6 ± 3.5 years, 62% African American, 62% female) who completed a food frequency questionnaire and at least two cognitive assessments (a composite of 4 cognitive tests) over an average follow‐up of 7.85 ± 4.57 years. The MIND diet score was analyzed by tertile. We used linear mixed models adjusted for age, sex, socioeconomic status (composite of education, income, and occupation), and total calories. Additional sensitivity analysis adjusted for lifestyle (physical and cognitive activities) and vascular risk factors (diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and myocardial infarction).


The average MIND diet score was lower for African Americans than non‐Hispanic Whites (6.97 vs.7.12, p = 0.0035). Among non‐Hispanic Whites, the second (β(SE) = 0.0121 (0.0059), p = 0.0396) and third (β(SE) = 0.0146 (0.0058), p = 0.0115) tertiles of the MIND diet score were associated with slower cognitive decline compared to the lowest tertile. Among African Americans, only the highest tertile of the MIND score was associated with slower cognitive decline (T3 vs. T1: β(SE) = 0.0088 (0.0043), p = 0.0415). Among African Americans, the association was no longer significant after adjusting for lifestyle and vascular risk factors. However, among non‐Hispanic Whites, the association between the MIND diet and cognitive decline remained significant.


The MIND diet association with cognitive decline varied by race. Whether our findings are due to lifestyle, vascular health or other correlated risk factors that impact cognitive decline differently by race warrants further investigation.

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