Adherence To Positive Dietary Practices Linked With Reduced Mortality

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June 5, 2009

Greater adherence to positive dietary practices linked with reduced mortality over 10 year period

Greater adherence to positive dietary practices linked with reduced mortality over 10 year period

An article appearing online on May 27, 2009 in the Journal of Nutrition revealed the finding of researchers at Queens College of the City University of New York, the National Cancer Institute, and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) that practicing six beneficial dietary behaviors is associated with a reduction from mortality from all causes.

For their analysis, Ashima Kant and colleagues evaluated data from 350,886 participants in the NIH (National Institutes of Health)-American Association of Retired Persons cohort. Subjects were between the ages of 50 and 71 years and free of disease upon enrollment. Dietary questionnaires completed at the beginning of the study were scored on 6 categories: servings of vegetables consumed per week, servings of fruit consumed per week, consumption of whole grain cereals and breads, consumption of lean meat and poultry (as opposed to fattier meats, unskinned poultry, etc.), consumption of low fat dairy products (as opposed to full fat products), and whether solid fat was added to cooked foods.

The participants were followed for a median of 10.55 years, during which 19,435 deaths among men and 10,403 deaths among women were documented. In models adjusted for age, those whose Dietary Behavior Scores were among the top one-fifth of participants had approximately half the risk of dying over follow-up than those whose scores were in the lowest fifth. After adjustment for other factors such as smoking status, the risk of dying among men whose scores were highest was still 21 percent less than those whose scores were lowest, and for women with the highest scores the risk was 25 percent lower. The association was more pronounced for those who were aged 56 to 71 upon enrollment compared with younger subjects. When cancer deaths were separately analyzed, they were found to be approximately 20 percent lower in participants with high versus those with low scores, and deaths from coronary heart disease and all other causes were 23 to 30 percent lower.

"The results of this study suggest that reported adoption of recommended dietary behaviors consistent with prevailing dietary guidance was associated with 20 to 25 percent lower risk of mortality after 10 years of follow-up in older men and women," the authors write. "These results suggest benefits of even small changes in dietary behaviors in the expected direction as well as higher reduction in mortality risk with greater compliance."

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It used to be thought that little could be done to postpone what nature has in store for us. Today, a growing scientific consensus indicates that individuals possess a great deal of control over how long they are going to live and what their state of health will be. Mainstream medicine has relied on simple measures of preventing disease, such as controlling hypertension, yet many doctors are coming to the realization that additional steps can be taken to protect against premature aging and death. In fact, the results of tens of thousands of scientific studies make it abundantly clear that following the proper lifestyle can add a significant number of healthy years to the average person's lifespan.

In the April 9, 1998, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, an editorial was entitled "Eat Right and Take a Multi-Vitamin." This article was based on studies indicating that certain supplements could reduce homocysteine serum levels and therefore lower heart attack and stroke risk. This was the first time this prestigious medical journal recommended vitamin supplements (Oakley 1998).

An even stronger endorsement for the use of vitamin supplements was in the June 19, 2002, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). According to the Harvard University doctors who wrote the JAMA guidelines, it now appears that people who get enough vitamins may be able to prevent such common illnesses as cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis. The Harvard researchers concluded that suboptimal levels of folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 are a risk factor for heart disease and colon and breast cancers; low levels of vitamin D contribute to osteoporosis; and inadequate levels of the antioxidant vitamins A, E, and C may increase the risk of cancer and heart disease (Fairfield et al. 2002).

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September 12-13, 2009

The Prostate Cancer Conference 2009

The Prostate Cancer Research Institute (PCRI) mission is to improve the quality of men’s lives by supporting research and disseminating information that educates and empowers patients, families and the medical community. PCRI is pleased to announce the 11th major conference devoted to prostate cancer, planned and/or produced by members of The Prostate Cancer Research Institute. As in the past, this conference will provide insight for patients, caregivers and medical professionals.

Moderated by the highly regarded Dr. Mark Moyad and Dr. Mark Scholz, this year’s conference will again focus on quality of life Issues. Faculty will talk about important lifestyle and health issues including diet and dietary supplements, erectile dysfunction, hormone blockade side effects and other current issues relating to advanced disease. Exciting up-and-coming technology and research will also be presented.

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