Background/Aims: Higher fruit intake is associated with lower risk of all-cause and disease-specific mortality, but data on specific fruits and the applicability of these findings to the elderly are limited. The objective of this study was to examine the association of apple intake with all-cause and disease-specific mortality over 15 years in a cohort of women aged >70 years. Secondary analyses explored relationships of other fruit with mortality outcomes.
Methods: Usual fruit intake was assessed in 1,456 women using a food frequency questionnaire. Incidence of all-cause and disease-specific mortality over 15 years was determined through the Western Australian Hospital Morbidity Data system. Cox regression was used to determine the HR for mortality.
Results: Over 15 years of follow up 607 (41.7%) women died from any cause. In multivariate analysis the HR (95% CI) for all-cause mortality was 0.96 (0.87,1.05) per SD (129 g/day) increase in total fruit intake, and 0.90 (0.82,0.99), P=0.04 per SD (53 g/d) increase in apple intake. The corresponding HRs, per SD increase in apple intake, for cardiovascular disease, cancer and mortality from other causes respectively were 0.96 (0.83,1.11), 0.81 (0.66,0.99), P=0.04 and 0.90 (0.77,1.06). Our analyses did not provide evidence that pear, orange and banana intakes were protective against all-cause or disease-specific mortality.
Conclusions: In this cohort of elderly women followed for 15 years, apple consumption was inversely associated with all-cause and cancer mortality. Our results support the view that regular apple consumption can contribute to better health.
Funding source(s): Healthway; NHMRC