Results from a recent analysis indicate that older adults who drink coffee may have a lower risk for death from heart disease, stroke and other major causes than those who do not drink coffee.
Researchers conducted a prospective review of the National Institutes of Health–AARP Diet and Health Study, which included 229,119 men and 173,141 women, aged 50 to 71 years and free from cancer, heart disease, and stroke at baseline. Researchers collected coffee consumption data at study entry in 1995-1996 and regularly followed up with participants through 2008 to assess coffee consumption’s effect on mortality.
Death totals between 1995 and 2008 included 33,731 men and 18,784 women during 5,148,760 person-years of follow-up. While coffee drinkers had a greater risk for death in age-adjusted models, when investigators corrected HRs to account for risk factors such as smoking and alcohol consumption, a significant inverse association was detected. Women and men who consumed six or more cups daily had 15% and 10% lower risks for death, respectively, regardless of whether the coffee was caffeinated or decaffeinated.
Among the multivariate-adjusted HRs (all 95% CI) for death among participants who drank coffee daily vs. nondrinkers were:
- One cup: men, 0.94 (0.90–0.99); women, 0.95 (0.90–1.01)
- Two or three cups: men, 0.90 (0.86–0.93); women, 0.87 (0.83–0.92)
- Six or more cups: men, 0.90 (0.85–0.96); women, 0.85 (0.78–0.93)
Investigators also observed multivariate-adjusted inverse associations between coffee consumption and death from heart disease (P=.03 for men; P<.001 for women), respiratory disease (P=.004; P<.001), stroke (P=.003; P=.05), injuries and accidents (P=.02; P<.001), diabetes (P<.001; P=.03), and infections (P=.001; P=.13), but not cancer.
“It is not possible to conclude that the inverse relationship between coffee consumption and mortality reflects cause and effect,” researchers concluded. “However, we can speculate about plausible mechanisms by which coffee consumption might have health benefits. … This large prospective cohort study showed significant inverse associations of coffee consumption with deaths from all causes. … Our results provide reassurance with respect to the concern that coffee drinking might adversely affect health.”