Greater Adherence to Healthy Diet Cuts Women's Death Risk

Western diet linked to significantly increased risk of cardiovascular, cancer and all-cause mortality

TUESDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- Women who eat a prudent diet high in vegetables, fruit, legumes, fish, poultry and whole grains may have a significantly reduced risk of cardiovascular and total mortality compared to women who eat a typical Western diet, according to a report published in the July 15 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Christin Heidemann, of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues studied 72,113 women who were free of myocardial infarction, angina, coronary artery surgery, stroke, diabetes or cancer when they were enrolled in the Nurses' Health Study in 1976.

During 18 years of follow-up, the investigators identified 6,011 deaths, including 1,154 from cardiovascular disease and 3,139 from cancer. Their analysis showed that women who ate a prudent diet had a significantly decreased risk of cardiovascular and all-cause mortality (28 percent and 17 percent, respectively) and that women who ate a typical Western diet had a significantly increased risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and all-cause mortality (22 percent, 16 percent and 21 percent, respectively).

"These data highlight the importance of health professional and public health efforts to help to adopt healthy overall dietary patterns including high intakes of plant foods such as vegetables, fruit, legumes and whole grains; high intakes of fish and poultry; and low intakes of red and processed meat, refined grains, French fries and sweets," the authors conclude.

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