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Epidemiology. 2007 May;18(3):393-401.

A prospective study of dietary patterns and mortality in Chinese women.

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Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashvill, TN, USA.



Many foods and nutrients have been suggested to influence life expectancy. However, previous studies have not examined the relationship between dietary patterns and cause-specific mortality. Our study prospectively examines the relationship of dietary patterns with total mortality and cause-specific mortality in a population-based cohort study of Chinese women.


The Shanghai Women's Health Study is a population-based cohort study of 74,942 women age 40 to 70 years at the time of recruitment (September 1996 to May 2000). Detailed dietary information was collected using a validated, quantitative food frequency questionnaire. The cohort has been followed using a combination of in-person interviews and record linkage with various registries. Dietary patterns, derived from principal component analysis, were examined for their relation to total mortality and cause-specific mortality using Cox regression models.


After an average of 5.7 years of follow-up (423,717 person-years of observation), there were 1565 deaths. We derived 3 major dietary patterns (vegetable-rich, fruit-rich, and meat-rich). The adjusted hazard ratios for the fruit-rich diet were 0.94 (95% CI = 0.89-0.98) for all causes of death and 0.89 (0.81-0.99), 0.79 (0.69-0.91), and 0.51 (0.39-0.65) for death caused by cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes, respectively. The meat-rich diet was associated with increased risk of diabetes (HR = 1.18; 95% CI = 0.98-1.42) and a slightly elevated risk of total mortality.


In general, a fruit-rich diet was related to lower mortality, whereas a meat-rich diet appeared to increase the probability of death.

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