Coffee consumption linked to reduced mortality risk

A new study suggests that “coffee drinkers are slightly more likely to live longer than non-coffee” drinkers.

The Los Angeles Times reports that for the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, “the National Cancer Institute researchers turned to data on 402,260 adults who were between the ages of 50 and 71 when they joined the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study in 1995 and 1996. The volunteers were followed through December 2008 or until they died – whichever came first.”

The researchers found that, “compared with men who didn’t drink any coffee at all, those who drank just one cup per day had a 6% lower risk of death during the course of the study; those who drank two to three cups per day had a 10% lower risk, and those who had four to five cups had a 12% lower risk.”

The Wall Street Journal “Health Blog” reports that Neal D. Freedman, a National Cancer Institute researcher and the study’s lead author, said, “It offers some reassurance for coffee drinkers,” but “we shouldn’t say coffee is a fountain of youth or anything like that.”

The New York Times  “Well” blog reports that according to Freedman, “the biggest concern for a long time has been that drinking coffee is a risky thing to do. Our results, and some of those of more recent studies, provide reassurance for coffee drinkers that this isn’t the case.”

Individuals “who are regularly drinking coffee have a similar risk of death as nondrinkers, and there might be a modest benefit.”

USA Today reports, “Coffee drinkers also were a little less likely to die from specific causes: heart disease, respiratory problems, strokes, injuries and accidents, diabetes and infections.”

The AP reports, “About two-thirds of study participants drank regular coffee, and the rest, decaf. The type of coffee made no difference in the results.”

Bloomberg News reports that “coffee wasn’t associated with a lower risk of dying from cancer in women. In men who drank the most coffee, there was a slightly higher chance of dying from cancer, the research reported.”

CNN reports that “the findings … stop short of saying that coffee drinking directly lowers the risk of chronic disease.”

HealthDay reports that “the authors cautioned that participants were not asked if their coffee-drinking habits had changed over the study period. Also, the study did not take into account pre-existing health issues.”

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