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Arch Intern Med. 2007 Oct 22;167(19):2080-5.

Breakfast cereals and risk of heart failure in the physicians' health study I.

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Division of Aging, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, 1620 Tremont St, Third Floor, Boston, MA 02120, USA.



Heart failure (HF) is the leading cause of hospitalization among the elderly population in the United States. Consumption of grain products and dietary fiber has been shown to reduce the risk of hypertension and myocardial infarction. However, it is not known whether a higher consumption of breakfast cereals is associated with risk of HF.


This study evaluated prospectively the association between breakfast cereal intake and incident HF among 21 376 participants of the Physicians' Health Study I. Cereal consumption was estimated using a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire. Incident HF was ascertained through annual follow-up questionnaires and validated using Framingham criteria. We used Cox regression models to estimate adjusted relative risk of HF across categories of cereal intake.


During an average follow-up of 19.6 years, 1018 incident cases of HF occurred. For average weekly cereal consumption of 0 servings, 1 or fewer, 2 to 6, and 7 or more, hazard ratios (95% confidence intervals) for HF were 1 (reference), 0.92 (0.78-1.09), 0.79 (0.67-0.93), and 0.71 (0.60-0.85), respectively (P<.001 for trend), adjusting for age, smoking, alcohol consumption, vegetable consumption, use of multivitamins, exercise, and history of atrial fibrillation, valvular heart disease, and left ventricular hypertrophy. However, the association was limited to the intake of whole grain cereals (P <.001 for trend) but not refined cereals (P = .70 for trend).


Our data demonstrate that a higher intake of whole grain breakfast cereals is associated with a lower risk of HF. Additional studies are warranted to confirm these findings and determine specific nutrients that are responsible for such a protection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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