Dietary saturated fat intake and atherosclerotic vascular disease mortality in elderly women: A prospective cohort study

Document Type



Oxford University Press


School of Exercise and Health Sciences




Blekkenhorst, L.C., Prince, R.L., Hodgson, J.M., Lim, W.H., Zhu, K., Devine, A., ... Lewis, J.R. (2016). Dietary saturated fat intake and atherosclerotic vascular disease mortality in elderly women: a prospective cohort study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 101(6), 1263–1268.

Available here.


Background: The reduction of saturated fatty acid (SFA) intake has been the basis of long-standing dietary recommendations. However, recent epidemiologic studies have reported conflicting evidence in the relation between SFA consumption and risk of atherosclerotic vascular disease (ASVD) mortality.

Objective: We investigated the association of SFA intake with serum lipid profiles and ASVD mortality in a population-based 10-y cohort study.

Design: At baseline (1998) 1469 women living in Perth, Western Australia, with a mean ± SD age of 75.2 ± 2.7 y had SFA intake measured by using a validated food-frequency questionnaire. Outcome data were serum lipids at baseline and ASVD deaths over 10 y (13,649 person-years of follow-up), retrieved from the Western Australian Data Linkage System. Other risk factors for ASVD were assessed and adjusted for in multivariable analyses.

Results: ASVD deaths occurred in 9.1% (134) of participants. The highest quartile of SFA intake (>31.28 g/d) had an ∼16% cumulative mortality risk compared with ∼5% in the lowest quartile (P = 0.001). Baseline SFA intake was associated with baseline serum total and LDL cholesterol in multivariable-adjusted models (β: 0.199, SE: 0.056, P < 0.001 and β: 0.190, SE: 0.051, P < 0.001, respectively). However, baseline serum total and LDL cholesterol were not associated with ASVD mortality.

Conclusions: High SFA intake was associated with the risk of ASVD mortality in this population of elderly women. Although there was a strong positive association between SFA intake and LDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol was not associated with ASVD mortality in this cohort. Nevertheless, these data support dietary advice to reduce SFA intake.



Access Rights