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Association of fried food consumption with all cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality: prospective cohort study

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 23 January 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:k5420
  1. Yangbo Sun, postdoctoral research scholar1,
  2. Buyun Liu, postdoctoral research scholar1,
  3. Linda G Snetselaar, professor1,
  4. Jennifer G Robinson, professor1 2,
  5. Robert B Wallace, professor1,
  6. Lindsay L Peterson, assistant professor3,
  7. Wei Bao, assistant professor1 4 5
  1. 1Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA
  2. 2Department of Internal Medicine, Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA
  3. 3Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO, USA
  4. 4Obesity Research and Education Initiative, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA
  5. 5Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA
  1. Correspondence to: W Bao, Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, University of Iowa, 145 N Riverside Drive, Room S431 CPHB, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA wei-bao{at}
  • Accepted 17 December 2018


Objective To examine the prospective association of total and individual fried food consumption with all cause and cause specific mortality in women in the United States.

Design Prospective cohort study.

Setting Women’s Health Initiative conducted in 40 clinical centers in the US.

Participants 106 966 postmenopausal women aged 50-79 at study entry who were enrolled between September 1993 and 1998 in the Women’s Health Initiative and followed until February 2017.

Main outcome measures All cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, and cancer mortality.

Results 31 558 deaths occurred during 1 914 691 person years of follow-up. For total fried food consumption, when comparing at least one serving per day with no consumption, the multivariable adjusted hazard ratio was 1.08 (95% confidence interval 1.01 to 1.16) for all cause mortality and 1.08 (0.96 to 1.22) for cardiovascular mortality. When comparing at least one serving per week of fried chicken with no consumption, the hazard ratio was 1.13 (1.07 to 1.19) for all cause mortality and 1.12 (1.02 to 1.23) for cardiovascular mortality. For fried fish/shellfish, the corresponding hazard ratios were 1.07 (1.03 to 1.12) for all cause mortality and 1.13 (1.04 to 1.22) for cardiovascular mortality. Total or individual fried food consumption was not generally associated with cancer mortality.

Conclusions Frequent consumption of fried foods, especially fried chicken and fried fish/shellfish, was associated with a higher risk of all cause and cardiovascular mortality in women in the US.


  • Contributors: YS and WB designed research. YS conducted research, analyzed data, and wrote the paper. All authors contributed to the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of the data, and revised the manuscript for important intellectual content. WB has primary responsibility for final content and is the study guarantor. All authors read and approved the final manuscript. The corresponding author attests that all listed authors meet authorship criteria and that no others meeting the criteria have been omitted.

  • Funding: The WHI program is funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, and US Department of Health and Human Services through contracts HHSN268201600018C, HHSN268201600001C, HHSN268201600002C, HHSN268201600003C, and HHSN268201600004C. This manuscript was prepared in collaboration with investigators of the WHI, and has been reviewed and approved by the WHI. The funders had no role in the design and conduct of the study, the collection, analysis, and interpretation of the data, or the preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript.

  • Competing interests: All authors have completed the ICMJE uniform disclosure form at and declare: no financial relationships with any organisations that might have an interest in the submitted work in the previous three years; no other relationships or activities that could appear to have influenced the submitted work.

  • Ethical approval: The WHI was overseen by ethics committees at all 40 clinical centers, by the coordinating center, and by a data and safety monitoring board. Each institution obtained human subjects committee approval. Each participant provided written informed consent.

  • Data sharing: No additional data available.

  • The lead author affirms that the manuscript is an honest, accurate, and transparent account of the study being reported; that no important aspects of the study have been omitted; and that any discrepancies from the study as planned (and, if relevant, registered) have been explained.

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