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Studies examining the association of dairy consumption with incident CHD have yielded inconsistent results. The current prospective study examined the association between dairy consumption and CHD in a population-based sample of older community-dwelling adults.
Baseline CHD risk factors were assessed and an FFQ was self-administered. Participants were followed for morbidity and mortality with periodic clinic visits and annual mailed questionnaires for an average of 16·2 years, with a 96 % follow-up rate for fatal and non-fatal CHD.
Participants were 751 men and 1008 women aged 50–93 years who attended a clinic visit in 1984–1987.
At baseline the mean age was 70·6 (sd 9·8) years for men and 70·1 (sd 9·3) years for women. Participants who developed CHD during follow-up were significantly older (P < 0·001), had higher BMI (P = 0·035) and higher total cholesterol (P = 0·050), and were more likely to be male (P < 0·001), diabetic (P = 0·011) and hypertensive (P < 0·001), than those who did not develop CHD. Multivariate regression analyses adjusting for age, BMI, diabetes, hypertension, LDL-cholesterol and oestrogen use (in women) indicated that women who consumed low-fat cheese ‘sometimes/often’ and women who consumed non-fat milk ‘sometimes/often’ had an increased risk of incident CHD (hazard ratio = 2·32; 95 % CI 1·57, 3·41) and CHD (hazard ratio = 1·48; 95 % CI 1·02, 2·16) compared with women who ‘never/rarely’ ate these dairy products.
Woman with higher intake of low-fat cheese and non-fat milk seem to have a higher risk of incident CHD. This needs further investigation considering recent evidence of cardiovascular benefits from certain dairy fat.
In addition to their possible direct biological effects, plasma carotenoids can be used as biochemical markers of fruit and vegetable consumption for identifying diet–disease associations in epidemiological studies. Few studies have compared levels of these carotenoids between countries in Europe.
Our aim was to assess the variability of plasma carotenoid levels within the cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).
Plasma levels of six carotenoids – α-carotene, β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin – were measured cross-sectionally in 3043 study subjects from 16 regions in nine European countries. We investigated the relative influence of gender, season, age, body mass index (BMI), alcohol intake and smoking status on plasma levels of the carotenoids.
Mean plasma level of the sum of the six carotenoids varied twofold between regions (1.35μmoll−1 for men in Malmö, Sweden vs. 2.79μmoll−1 for men in Ragusa/Naples, Italy; 1.61μmoll−1 for women in The Netherlands vs. 3.52μmoll−1 in Ragusa/Naples, Italy). Mean levels of individual carotenoids varied up to fourfold (α-carotene: 0.06μmoll−1 for men in Murcia, Spain vs. 0.25μmoll−1 for vegetarian men living in the UK). In multivariate regression analyses, region was the most important predictor of total plasma carotenoid level (partial R2=27.3%), followed by BMI (partial R2=5.2%), gender (partial R2=2.7%) and smoking status (partial R2=2.8%). Females had higher total carotenoid levels than males across Europe.
Plasma levels of carotenoids vary substantially between 16 different regions in Italy, Greece, Spain, France, Germany, the UK, Sweden, Denmark and The Netherlands. Compared with region of residence, the other demographic and lifestyle factors and laboratory measurements have limited predictive value for plasma carotenoid levels in Europe.
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