Is whole grain intake associated with reduced total and cause-specific death rates in older women? The Iowa Women's Health Study.
OBJECTIVES: This study sought to determine whether nutrient-rich whole grains reduce mortality risk. METHODS: The study included 38,740 Iowa women, aged 55 to 69 years. A food frequency questionnaire was used to obtain data on grain intake. RESULTS: Median whole grain intake quintiles ranged from a median of 0.2 to more than 3 servings per day. Women with higher intakes had healthier lifestyles and less baseline disease. The total death rate decreased in increasing quintiles, and the pattern repeated for cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other causes combined. Adjusted for lifestyle and baseline disease, the relative hazard rate ratio for total death was about 0.85 in daily consumers of whole grain. Findings persisted in strata of baseline healthy and diseased and were not explained by dietary fiber. Rates of total mortality, but not cardiovascular disease mortality, were higher among frequent consumers of refined grain. CONCLUSIONS: Total mortality risk was inversely associated with whole grain intake and positively associated with refined grain intake. Refined grains contributed more than 20% of energy intake, and whole grains contributed 1%. Substitution of whole for refined grain may reduce chronic disease risk in the United States. (+info)
Prospective study of intentionality of weight loss and mortality in older women: the Iowa Women's Health Study.
Several epidemiologic investigations have suggested that weight loss is associated with increased mortality risk but have not examined whether the weight loss was intentional or unintentional. The authors examined whether the association between weight loss and mortality differs by whether the weight loss was intentional or unintentional as part of the Iowa Women's Health Study, a prospective cohort study of health risk factors in postmenopausal women. Women aged 55-69 years completed questions about intentional and unintentional weight losses since age 18 years via mail survey in 1992 and were followed through 1995. One or more intentional weight loss episodes of 20 or more pounds (> or =9.1 kg) during adulthood was not significantly associated with higher total or cardiovascular disease mortality risk compared with never losing > or =20 pounds. One or more unintentional weight loss episodes of 20 or more pounds was associated with a 26-57% higher total mortality risk and a 51-114% higher cardiovascular disease mortality risk, compared with never losing 20 or more pounds. Associations between unintentional weight loss and increased mortality risk were confined mostly to women with prevalent disease, hypertension, or diabetes. Patterns of association did not vary by overweight status. These findings suggest that the association between weight loss and increased mortality risk observed in epidemiologic studies may be due to unintentional weight loss that reflects existing disease and not due to intentional weight loss. (+info)
N-acetyltransferase 1 genetic polymorphism, cigarette smoking, well-done meat intake, and breast cancer risk.
N-Acetyltransferase 1 (NAT1), encoded by the polymorphic NAT1 gene, has been shown to be one of the major enzymes in human breast tissue that activates aromatic and heterocyclic amines. Humans are mainly exposed to these carcinogens through cigarette smoking and consumption of well-done meat. To test the hypothesis that variations in the NAT1 gene are related to breast cancer risk, particularly among women who smoke or consume high levels of well-done meat, a nested case-control study was conducted in a prospective cohort study of 41,837 postmenopausal Iowa women. Information on cigarette smoking and other breast cancer risk factors was obtained at the baseline survey conducted in 1986. DNA samples and information on the consumption of well-done meat were obtained, in the case-control study, from breast cancer cases diagnosed from 1992 to 1994 and a random sample of cancer-free cohort members. Genomic DNA samples obtained from 154 cases and 330 controls were assayed for 11 NAT1 alleles (NAT1*3, *4, *5, *10, *11, *14, *15, *16, *17, *19, and *22). The NAT1*4 allele was the predominant allele observed in this study population, accounting for 73.2% (72.4% in cases versus 73.8% in controls) of the total alleles analyzed. Compared to controls, breast cancer cases had a slightly higher frequency of the NAT1*10 allele (18.8% in cases versus 17.3% in controls) and a substantially higher frequency of the NAT1*11 allele (3.6% versus 1.2%). In multivariate analyses, we found a 30% [95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.8-1.9] elevated risk of breast cancer associated with the NAT1*10 allele and a nearly 4-fold (95% CI = 1.5-10.5) elevated risk associated with the NAT1*11 allele. The positive association of breast cancer with the NAT1*11 allele was more evident among smokers [odds ratio (OR) = 13.2, 95% CI = 1.5-116.0] and those who consumed a high level of red meat (OR = 6.1, 95% CI = 1.1-33.2) or consistently consumed their red meat well done (OR = 5.6, 95% CI = 0.5-62.7). The association of the NAT1*10 allele with breast cancer was mainly confined to former smokers (OR = 3.3, 95% CI = 1.2-9.5). These findings are consistent with a role for the NAT1 gene in the etiology of human breast cancer. (+info)
An innovative approach to reducing medical care utilization and expenditures.
In a retrospective study, we assessed the impact on medical utilization and expenditures of a multicomponent prevention program, the Maharishi Vedic Approach to Health (MVAH). We compared archival data from Blue Cross/Blue Shield Iowa for MVAH (n = 693) with statewide norms for 1985 through 1995 (n = 600,000) and with a demographically matched control group (n = 4,148) for 1990, 1991, 1994, and 1995. We found that the 4-year total medical expenditures per person in the MVAH group were 59% and 57% lower than those in the norm and control groups, respectively; the 11-year mean was 63% lower than the norm. The MVAH group had lower utilization and expenditures across all age groups and for all disease categories. Hospital admission rates in the control group were 11.4 times higher than those in the MVAH group for cardiovascular disease, 3.3 times higher for cancer, and 6.7 times higher for mental health and substance abuse. The greatest savings were seen among MVAH patients older than age 45, who had 88% fewer total patients days compared with control patients. Our results confirm previous research supporting the effectiveness of MVAH for preventing disease. Our evaluation suggests that MVAH can be safely used as a cost-effective treatment regimen in the managed care setting. (+info)
Aging successfully until death in old age: opportunities for increasing active life expectancy.
The purpose of this study was to estimate the prevalence of having no disability in the year prior to death in very old age and to examine factors associated with this outcome. Participants were men and women aged 65 years and older who were followed prospectively between 1981 and 1991 from three communities: New Haven, Connecticut; Iowa and Washington counties, Iowa; and East Boston, Massachusetts. Persons who died in late old age with known disability status within 15 months of death (n = 1,097) were studied for predictors of dying without disability at the last follow-up interview prior to death. The probability of a nondisabled 65-year-old man's surviving to age 80 and then being nondisabled prior to death was 26% and, for a 65-year-old woman, the probability of surviving to age 85 and being nondisabled before death was 18%. Physical activity was a key factor predicting nondisability before death. There was nearly a twofold increased likelihood of dying without disability among the most physically active group compared with sedentary adults (adjusted odds ratio = 1.86, 95% confidence interval 1.24-2.79). These findings provide encouraging evidence that disability prior to death is not an inevitable part of a long life but may be prevented by moderate physical activity. (+info)
Exposure of farmers to phosmet, a swine insecticide.
OBJECTIVES: The goal of this study was to measure dermal and inhalation exposures to phosmet during application to animals and to identify what determinants of exposure influence the exposure levels. METHODS: Ten farmers were monitored using dermal patches, gloves, and air sampling media during normal activities of applying phosmet to pigs for insect control. Exposures were measured on the clothing (outer), under the clothing (inner), on the hands, and in the air. Possible exposure determinants were identified, and a questionnaire on work practices was administered. RESULTS: The geometric mean of the outer exposure measurements was 79 microg/h, whereas the geometric mean of the inner exposure measurements was 6 microg/h. The geometric mean for hand exposure was 534 microg/h, and the mean air concentration was 0.2 microg/m3. Glove use was associated with the hand and total dermal exposure levels, but no other determinant was associated with any of the exposure measures. The average penetration through the clothing was 54%, which dropped to 8% when the farmers wearing short sleeves were excluded. The farmers reported an average of 40 hours a year performing insecticide-related tasks. CONCLUSIONS: Farmers who applied phosmet to animals had measurable exposures, but the levels were lower than what has been seen in other pesticide applications. Inhalation exposures were insignificant when compared with dermal exposures, which came primarily from the hands. Clothing, particularly gloves, provided substantial protection from exposures. No other exposure determinant was identified. (+info)
Dietary flavonoid intake and risk of cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women.
Flavonoids, a group of phenolic compounds found in fruits and vegetables, are known to have antioxidant properties. They prevent low density lipoprotein oxidation in vitro and thus may play a role in the prevention of coronary heart disease (CHD). In 1986, in a prospective study of 34,492 postmenopausal women in Iowa, the authors examined the association of flavonoid intake with CHD and stroke mortality. Over 10 years of follow-up, 438 deaths from CHD and 131 deaths from stroke were documented. Total flavonoid intake was associated with a decreased risk of CHD death after adjusting for age and energy intake (p for trend = 0.04). This association was attenuated after multivariate adjustment. However, decreased risk was seen in each category of intake compared with the lowest. Relative risks and 95% confidence intervals of CHD death from lowest to highest intake category were 1.0, 0.67 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.49-0.92), 0.56 (95% CI 0.39-0.79), 0.86 (95% CI 0.63-1.18), and 0.62 (95% CI 0.44-0.87). There was no association between total flavonoid intake and stroke mortality (p for trend = 0.83). Of the foods that contributed the most to flavonoid intake in this cohort, only broccoli was strongly associated with reduced risk of CHD death. The data of this study suggest that flavonoid intake may reduce risk of death from CHD in postmenopausal women. (+info)
Family history, ethnicity, and relative risk of breast cancer in a prospective cohort study of older women.
In a cohort of 27,578 postmenopausal Iowa women, we examined whether the risk with a family history of breast cancer differs by self-reported ethnicity. A total of 1042 breast cancer cases occurred over 10 years of follow-up. Using a phylogenetic tree, ethnicities were combined into five groups: Scandinavian; English, Scottish, Welsh, and Dutch (ESWD); Irish; German; and Other European. The incidence of breast cancer did not differ significantly by ethnicity, although the highest rates were observed among Scandinavian women (488 per 100,000 per year) and the lowest among Irish women (353 per 100,000 per year). The prevalence of a family history of breast cancer was not significantly associated with ethnicity when only first-degree relatives were considered (P = 0.17), but inclusion of data on second-degree relatives increased the statistical significance of the association (P = 0.003). Differences in mean levels of breast cancer risk factors between ethnicities were generally small but statistically significant. Proportional hazards regression was performed to evaluate potential interactions of family history with ethnicity on breast cancer incidence. A family history of breast cancer was associated with increased relative risks among ESWD, Germans, and Other Europeans but not among Irish and Scandinavians. Relative risk estimates were not attenuated upon addition of known breast cancer risk factors to the model, implying that the distribution of these risk factors by ethnicity is unlikely to explain some of the observed ethnic-specific differences between family history and risk of breast cancer. Results of this study could have implications for studies of common genetic polymorphisms and cancer risk. (+info)