August 19, 2010
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Moderate, consistent consumption of chocolate lowered HF incidence in older women

Mostofsky E. Circ Heart Fail. 2010;doi:10.1161/circheartfailure.110.944025.

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Study results published in Circulation: Heart Failure have linked moderate, habitual chocolate intake with a lower rate of HF hospitalization or death in a population of older women. However, this correlation was not observed with chocolate intake of one or more servings a day.

The study consisted of women (n=31,823) from the Swedish Mammography Cohort aged 48 to 83 years who were without diabetes or a history of HF or MI. They answered health and lifestyle questions, completed a food-frequency questionnaire and were followed for 9 years (1998 through 2006) for HF hospitalization or death.

During the follow-up, there were 379 incident HFs and 40 HF-related deaths. Compared with those with no regular chocolate consumption, multivariate-adjusted rate ratio HF for women consuming one to three servings of chocolate per month was 0.74 (95% CI, 0.58-0.95), for one to two servings per week, it was 0.68 (95% CI, 0.50-0.93) and for three to six servings a week, it was 1.09 (95% CI, 0.74-1.62). However, for women consuming one or more servings of chocolate per day, the rate ratio was 1.23 (95% CI, 0.73-2.08). The P value for the quadratic trend was .0005.

“In this population of middle-aged and elderly Swedish women, moderate, habitual chocolate intake was associated with a lower rate of HF hospitalization or death, but the protective association was not observed with intake of one or more servings per day,” researchers concluded. “Further studies are needed to confirm or refute these findings and to determine the optimal dose and type of chocolate and to clarify the mechanisms involved.”

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