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CDEP: Whole-Grain Cereals Reduce Risk of Heart Failure


ORLANDO -- Men who regularly start the day with a bowl of whole-grain cereal are less likely to have heart failure than men who never ate whole grain cereals, researchers here reported.

ORLANDO, March 6 -- Men who regularly start the day with a bowl of whole-grain cereal are less likely to have heart failure than men who never ate whole grain cereals, researchers here reported.

Moreover, the association between whole-grain cereals and heart failure appeared to be dose dependent, said Luc Djouss, M.D., M.P.H., D.Sc., of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues.

They found a 26% reduction in incident heart failure in men who ate whole grain cereals at least seven times a week, but even a single bowl of whole grain cereal once a week decreased the relative risk of heart failure by 14%,

Men who ate two to six bowls of whole grain cereals, which was defined as cereals that contained 25% oat or bran, were about 22% less likely to develop heart failure than men who never consumed whole grain cereals (P for trend =0.002 for all), they reported at the American Heart Association's Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention.

After correcting for age, body mass index, smoking history, alcohol consumption, vegetable consumption, physical activity, history of atrial fibrillation, and valvular heart disease, the relative risks for heart failure were 0.90 (0.77-1.07) for up to one serving of whole grain cereal per week, 0.79 (0.66-095) for two to six servings, and 0.74 (0.61-0.90) for seven or more servings per week.

After additional adjustment for diabetes and hypertension, the relative risks were 0.93 (0.78-1.11), 0.82 (0.69-0.99), and 0.77 (0.64-0.97) for one, two to six, and seven or more servings per week (P for trend =0.007), which suggested that blood pressure and diabetes mediated the effects of whole-grain cereals.

The finding emerged from a prospective analysis of data collected from 21,410 participants in the Physicians' Health Study conducted from 1982 through 2006. At baseline the average age of participants was 53.7 9.5 years.

"Importantly, this relationship was observed in a population of physicians -- men who are knowledgeable about cardiovascular risk and who are likely to pursue heart-healthy lifestyles and yet even in this healthy population we observed a benefit for whole grain cereals," Dr. Djouss said.

He speculated that in the general population, "the true benefit might be even greater."

"We believe the association can be extended to all whole grain products, not just breakfast cereals," Dr. Djouss said.

Consumption of breakfast cereals was obtained through dietary questionnaires. At baseline 10,469 physicians said they ate breakfast cereals -- 8,266 said they consumed whole grain cereals and 2,203 said they preferred refined cereals.

Among the physicians who ate whole-grain breakfast cereals 35% said they ate the cereals seven or more times a week, 39% at the cereals two to six times a week and 26% only had one serving of whole grain cereal a week.

During more than 18 years of follow-up, there were 898 cases of heart failure in the sample.

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