Using long-term follow-up cohort data from the Korean Genome Epidemiology Study, we assessed the dietary risk factors for incident hypertension (HTN). In total, 6792 subjects (3300 males and 3492 females) aged 40–69 years were included in the study. Physician-diagnosed HTN self-reported by the participants was used as the outcome. Daily intake of 20 food groups was assessed while using a dish-based semi-quantitative food-frequency questionnaire. After controlling for known risk factors, the food groups that were most closely associated with HTN were identified by forward stepwise selection while using the Cox proportional hazards model. The median follow-up period was 11.5 years (interquartile range, 6.0–11.7 years) and the incidence of HTN was 20 per 1000 person-years. Older age, obesity, lower education level, high alcohol intake, and having at least one parent with HTN were associated with the risk for HTN. In addition, a high intake of salted seafood and a low intake of eggs and meat were independently associated with the incidence of HTN after controlling for the known risk factors. Those in the top quartile of salted seafood intake had a 28% greater risk for incident HTN than those in the bottom quartile. The population-attributable fraction of three dietary factors accounted for 29.0% of the incidence of HTN. A high intake of salted seafood and a low intake of eggs and meat were associated with a greater risk for HTN.
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