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Diet & Health Study News - Summer 2012
Published for Study Participants by the National Cancer Institute (PDF version - 153kb)

Dear Participant,

The NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study is now in its 17th year and is still going strong thanks to your participation! Since the study began, we have published close to 200 articles in scientific journals. These articles have received a great deal of attention among scientists, the media, and the public.

Without your participation, this critical research on diet and health would not be possible. It is important to us to stay in touch with you every year. Please feel free to contact us by email (dietandhealth@mail.nih.gov) or phone (1-888-302-6672) with any questions you may have about the study. Remember, you can get up-to-date information about the study at our website http://dietandhealth.cancer.gov/.

Thank you for your continued time and participation in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study!


Two Important Recent Findings from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study:

Sitting Too Much Can Be Risky To Your Health Even if You Exercise

Sedentary behaviors such as sitting and watching TV, traveling by car, and sitting long hours at work are all too common in modern life. The average U.S. adult spends more than 50 percent of his or her time each day sedentary. Results from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study have shown that participants who spend more time sitting have a greater risk of death than those who do not even after taking into account exercise participation. Participants who report watching TV more than 7 hours per day still had a greater likelihood of death from all-causes and cardiovascular disease—even if they reported exercising more than three hours each week.

This research suggests that, in addition to exercising at recommended amounts, reducing sitting time may be a way to increase longevity. Currently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults 65 years and older should avoid inactivity and do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity. If this is not possible due to health conditions, older adults should be as physically active as their abilities allow. For more information, please visit: http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/.

Drinking Coffee May Help You Live Longer

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in America. A recent study from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study found that older adults who drink coffee—caffeinated or decaffeinated—have a lower risk of death overall than others who do not drink coffee. Compared to men and women who do not drink coffee, those who consume three or more cups of coffee per day have approximately a 10 percent lower risk of death. More specifically, coffee drinkers are less likely to die from heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes, and infections; the same association is not seen for cancer.

Since coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant, coffee drinking is not always considered to be part of a healthy lifestyle. However, coffee also contains more than 1,000 compounds that might potentially affect health. Although it is not clear how coffee protects against risk of death, our study finding provides some reassurance that coffee drinking may have some benefits.


Arthur Schatzkin Distinguished Lecture Organizing Committee with Speaker (from left to right: Rachel Ballard-Barbash MD, MPH, Yikyung Park ScD, Victor Kipnis PhD, Rashmi Sinha PhD, John Potter MD, PhD, and Amy Subar PhD, MPH, RD)
Arthur Schatzkin Distinguished Lecture Organizing Committee with Speaker (from left to right: Rachel Ballard-Barbash MD, MPH, Yikyung Park ScD, Victor Kipnis PhD, Rashmi Sinha PhD, John Potter MD, PhD, and Amy Subar PhD, MPH, RD)

In Honor of the Founding Researcher for the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study:

First Arthur Schatzkin Distinguished Lecture in Nutritional Epidemiology

"Nutrition, Environment, Development, and Cancer: Casting a Wider Net" was the topic of the First Arthur Schatzkin Distinguished Lecture in Nutritional Epidemiology held on April 16, 2012. This annual lecture honors the memory of Arthur Schatzkin, M.D., Dr.P.H., the founding researcher for the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. Dr. Schatzkin passed away in January 2011.

This year’s speaker was John Potter, M.D. Ph.D., member and senior advisor of the Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Washington. Dr. Potter’s research focuses on the role of diet and physical activity in the development of cancer, with a special emphasis on the early detection and prevention of colon cancer.

To honor and support Dr. Arthur Schatzkin’s vision, donations are being accepted by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) to improve health by encouraging public-private partnerships for biomedical research and training. Additional information is available at the FNIH website http://www.fnih.org/.

Check Out Our Website

You can get up-to-date information about the study at our website: http://dietandhealth.cancer.gov