The life prolonging effects of coffee and other stories . . .

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g5449 (Published 10 September 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5449

Coffee prolongs life. Minerva was delighted to see this affirmed by a new dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies (American Journal of Epidemiology 2014, doi:10.1093/aje/kwu194). The largest risk reductions were seen for four cups per day for all cause mortality (16%, 95% CI 13% to 18%) and three cups per day for death from cardiovascular disease (21%, 16% to 26%). Coffee consumption was not associated with death from cancer. Readers who are familiar with JS Bach’s dramatic “Coffee Cantata BWV 211” will be happy to know that the fair coffee drinking Lieschen was right to hold out against her censorious father.

Getting fat in adolescence really has nothing to recommend it. Nor is there any easy answer in the extensive literature that Minerva spends her time trawling through. A well designed Australian study (ATLAS) tried a complex intervention with provision of tailored exercise and smartphone monitoring (Pediatrics 2014, doi:10.1542/peds.2014-1012). The intervention did result in obesity prone boys from low income families …

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