Public Release: 

Eating recommended foods associated with decrease in risk of mortality for women

Center for Advancing Health

Dietary patterns including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean meats are key

New data suggest that a dietary pattern characterized by consumption of foods recommended in current dietary guidelines is associated with decreased risk of mortality in women, according to an article appearing in the April 26 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Ashima K. Kant, PhD, from Queens College of the City University of New York, Flushing, N.Y., and colleagues studied data from phase two of the Breast Cancer Detection Demonstration Project. A total of 42,254 women (mean age 61.1 years) in the study completed a food frequency questionnaire to measure overall diet quality. Answers were tabulated to create a recommended food score (RFS). The RFS was calculated by the sum of the number of foods recommended by current national dietary guidelines (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean meats and poultry) that were reported on the questionnaire to be consumed at least once a week. There was a median follow-up time of 5.6 years, during which 2,065 deaths occurred.

The study shows the association between RFS and death from cancer, coronary heart disease, stroke, and all other causes combined.

"Our study suggests that women reporting dietary patterns that included fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean meats, as recommended by current dietary guidelines, have a lower risk of mortality," the authors write. "Women in the highest intake level of recommended foods had 30 percent lower risk of multivariate-adjusted all-cause mortality compared with those in the lowest level."

The authors write that few studies have examined global measures of diet quality as it relates to mortality and that although many studies have examined the role of single nutrients, foods, or food groups in the etiology of disease, relatively little research has addressed the health effects of dietary patterns comprising multiple interdependent dietary factors.

"Our results provide evidence in support of the prevailing food-based dietary guidelines and suggest that diets complying with current dietary recommendations are indeed associated with improved health outcome. The potential public health implications of these findings are considerable."

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To contact Ashima K. Kant, PhD, call Ron Cannava at 718-997-5590. If you would like to request a copy of the article, please call the Science News Department at 312-464-5374 or 5904. For more information, contact the AMA's Scot Roskelley at 312-464-4431, email: Scot_Roskelley@ama-assn.org.

Posted by the Center for the Advancement of Health http://www.cfah.org. For information about the Center, call Petrina Chong, pchong@cfah.org 202-387-2829.

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