Assessment of the association of plant- based diets with cardiovascular disease risk profile in Africa : a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol

Lopes, Tatum ; Zemlin, Annalise E. ; Erasmus, Rajiv T. ; Faber, Mieke ; Kengne, Andre P. (2020-06-01)

CITATION: Lopes, Tatum et al. 2020. Assessment of the association of plant-based diets with cardiovascular disease risk profile in Africa : a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol. BMJ Open, 10(6):e036792, doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2020-036792.

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Introduction Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is currently the leading cause of death worldwide. In Africa where infectious diseases are still the leading cause of death, the contribution of non-communicable diseases led by CVDs has significantly increased in recent years. The rise of CVDs in Africa is attributed at least in part to the adoption of sedentary behaviours and unhealthy eating habits, which are linked with urbanisation and westernisation of cultures. Dietary attributes associated with CVD risk have been less investigated in Africa. However, evidence from developed nations has reported a protective effect of healthy dietary patterns such as plant-based diets (PBDs) on cardiometabolic health. The current protocol is for a review aiming to assess existing evidence on the association of PBDs with CVD risk profile in African populations. Methods and analysis This protocol was developed following the 2015 guidelines of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-analysis Protocols. We will conduct a comprehensive search of the literature for published studies on PBDs in relation to CVD risk profile in African populations. Observational studies published between January 1990 and December 2019 will be screened. A search strategy using keywords and medical subject headings terms will be applied across multiple scientific databases including PubMed-Medline, Scopus and EBSCOhost and the African Journals Online platform. Manual searches of reference lists from relevant articles will be performed. Citations will be traced using the ISI Web of Science to further identify eligible studies. Grey literature will also be screened for relevant abstracts from conference proceedings, and experts in the field will be contacted where appropriate. Two investigators will independently screen all the titles and abstracts to determine which records are eligible for full-text review. Subsequently, two investigators will review the eligible full text using the selection criteria. A third investigator will be consulted to resolve any discrepancies. Data will be extracted from studies that are eligible for the review. Meta-analysis will be performed for studies with similar or comparable methods and reported outcome measures. This will be performed overall, and by major study-level characteristics. Heterogeneity in the estimates across studies will be assessed and quantified with the use of Cochrane Q and I2 statistics, respectively. Publication biases will be investigated through funnel plots and Egger test of bias. Relevant sensitivity analyses will be performed to confirm the robustness of the findings

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