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To investigate the association between fruit and vegetable consumption and self-reported physical and mental functional health measured by an anglicised short-form 36-item questionnaire (UK SF-36).
Population-based cross-sectional study.
General community in Norfolk, UK.
A total of 16 792 men and women aged 40–79 years recruited from general practice population registers as part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC)–Norfolk study, who completed food-frequency questionnaires in 1993–1997 and Health and Life Experiences Questionnaires 18 months later, were enrolled in the study.
Mean SF-36 physical component summary scores increased significantly with increasing total fruit and vegetable consumption in both men and women (P < 0.0001 for trend). Men and women in the top quartile of consumption compared with the bottom quartile had a significantly higher likelihood of reporting good physical health (defined as a score ≥ 55); odds ratio (OR) 1.30, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.11–1.53 for men and OR 1.28, 95% CI 1.11–1.48 for women, after controlling for age, body mass index, smoking, education, social class, prevalent illness and total energy intake. Exclusion of current smokers and people with prevalent illness did not alter the associations.
Higher fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with better self-reported physical functional health within a general population. Increasing daily intake by two portions of fruit and vegetables was associated with an 11% higher likelihood of good functional health. Since the current average consumption of fruit and vegetables in the UK is about three portions, the recommended ‘five a day’ strategy may have additional benefit for functional as well as other health outcomes in the population.
To examine the association between fish consumption and stroke risk.
Prospective population cohort study.
Norfolk, UK cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC–Norfolk).
Subjects were 24 312 men and women aged 40–79 years who had no previous history of stroke at baseline.
Fish consumption was assessed using a food-frequency questionnaire at baseline in 1993–1997 and stroke incidence ascertained to 2004.
A total of 421 incident strokes were identified (mean follow-up=8.5 years, total person-years=209 238). There were no significant relationships between total fish, shellfish or fish roe consumption and risk of stroke in men and women after adjusting for age, systolic blood pressure, body mass index, smoking, cholesterol, diabetes, physical activity, alcohol consumption, fish oil supplement use and total energy intake using Cox regression analyses. Oily fish consumption was significantly lower in women who subsequently had a stroke (odds ratio (OR) for consumers vs. non-consumers=0.69, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.51–0.94, P=0.02). The trend in men was similar but not significant (OR for consumers vs. non-consumers=0.88, 95% CI 0.65–1.19, P=0.41).
There was no consistent relationship between fish consumption and stroke in this British population. Inconsistencies in the observed health effects of fish consumption in different populations may reflect different patterns and type of fish consumed and preparation methods.
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