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Mortality Lowest With Five Servings of Fruit, Vegetables/Day

MONDAY, March 1, 2021 -- Mortality is lowest with consumption of five servings of fruit and vegetables per day, according to a study published online March 1 in Circulation.

Dong D. Wang, M.D., Sc.D., from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues followed 66,719 women from the Nurses' Health Study and 42,016 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study who were free from cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer, and diabetes at baseline. The authors sought to examine the optimal intake levels of fruit and vegetables for maintaining long-term health.

The researchers identified 33,898 deaths during follow-up. There was a nonlinear inverse association observed for fruit and vegetable intake with total mortality and cause-specific mortality attributable to cancer, CVD, and respiratory disease, after adjustment for known and suspected confounding variables and risk factors. Mortality was lowest with an intake of about five servings per day, or two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables; there was no association seen for higher intake with additional risk reduction. A daily intake of five servings of fruit and vegetables was associated with hazard ratios of 0.87, 0.88, 0.90, and 0.65 for total mortality, CVD mortality, cancer mortality, and respiratory disease mortality, respectively, compared with the reference level of two servings.

"This research provides strong evidence for the lifelong benefits of eating fruits and vegetables and suggests a goal amount to consume daily for ideal health," Anne Thorndike, M.D., M.P.H., chair of the American Heart Association nutrition committee and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, said in a statement. "Fruits and vegetables are naturally packaged sources of nutrients that can be included in most meals and snacks, and they are essential for keeping our hearts and bodies healthy."

One author disclosed financial ties to the California Walnut Commission and SwissRe Management Ltd.

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