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Dietary fats and 16-year coronary heart disease mortality in a cohort of men and women in Great Britain

Abstract

Objective: The paper aims to investigate the relationships of dietary fats to subsequent coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality in men and women while taking account of other CHD-related behaviours.

Design: A cohort of randomly selected men and women were interviewed in 1984–85 and monitored subsequently for 16 y for deaths. The interview covered health, health-related behaviours, physical measurements, socio-demographic details and a dietary questionnaire. Appropriate exclusions left 1225 men and 1451 women aged 40–75 with 98 and 57 CHD deaths, respectively. Saturated, polyunsaturated and total fat intakes were estimated.

Setting: The sample was randomly selected from households in Great Britain. The interviews took place in participants' own homes.

Results: Not consuming alcohol, smoking, not exercising and being socially disadvantaged were related to high saturated fat intake and CHD death. Cox survival analyses adjusting for these factors found that a level of saturated fat 100 g per week higher corresponded to a relative risk for CHD death for men of 1.00 (0.86–1.18) and 1.40 (1.09–1.79) for women. This difference between the effects of saturated fat in men and women was statistically significant (P=0.019). Results are also reported for total fat and the relative effects of polyunsaturated and saturated fats.

Conclusions: Strong evidence was found for the within cohort relationship of dietary fat and CHD death in women while no evidence was found for a relationship in men. Possible explanations for this are discussed.

Sponsorship: This study was supported by University of Hertfordshire using funding made available by the UK Higher Education Funding Council.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Brian D. Cox and Margaret J. Wichelow of the Department of Community Medicine, Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge for their general encouragement and provision of improved age data. We also thank Craig Duncan of the University of Portsmouth and Kelvyn Jones of the University of Bristol for their provision of the local deprivation index data for the sample.

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Correspondence to DR Boniface.

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Boniface, D., Tefft, M. Dietary fats and 16-year coronary heart disease mortality in a cohort of men and women in Great Britain. Eur J Clin Nutr 56, 786–792 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601509

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601509

Keywords

  • dietary fats
  • coronary heart disease (CHD)
  • cohort studies
  • health surveys
  • sex differences
  • epidemiology
  • health behaviour

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