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Diet & Health Study News

Summer 2014 (PDF version - 1.2mb)

Dear Participant,

The NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study is still going strong thanks to your participation!

Since the study began, we have published over 225 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 for us to stay in touch with you every year. Please feel free to contact us at ( with any questions you may have about the study. Remember, you can get up-to-date information about the study at our website

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:

Cigarette smoking causes the same risk of dying early for women and men

A recent study that included participants from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study looked at trends for smoking-related deaths over the past 50 years. Researchers found that deaths due to smoking in women are now at the same level as for men. This includes deaths from lung cancer, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), any type of stroke, and for all causes of death combined. The authors think this may be related to the fact that smoking rates have increased in women, and smoking patterns in men and women have become more alike since the 1960s.

Overall, cigarette smoking has gone down since the 1970s. Researchers found that among people who still smoke, the risk of death due to any cause in men 55 to 74 years of age and in women 60 to 74 years of age is at least three times higher than in people who have never smoked. Quitting smoking at any age led to much lower chances of death due to smoking. Quitting smoking altogether was found to be much better than just reducing the number of cigarettes smoked. Nearly all disease related to smoking can be avoided if a person quits smoking before 40 years of age.

Thun MJ, Carter BD, Feskanich D, Freedman ND, Prentice R, Lopez AD, Hartge P, Gapstur SM. 50-year trends in smoking-related mortality in the United States. N Engl J Med. 2013; 368:351-64.

Want to Quit Smoking? Call the National Cancer Institute Smoking Quitline: 1-877-44U-QUIT (1-877-448-7848)

Smoking cessation counselors are available to answer smoking-related questions in English or Spanish, Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Call toll free in the United States, 1-877-44U-QUIT (1-877-448-7848).

Weight and physical activity levels before endometrial cancer diagnosis affect lifespan

Being overweight or obese and not physically active are factors that may increase a woman’s chances of getting endometrial cancer. Endometrial cancer is a cancer that occurs in a woman’s uterus. Researchers with the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study wanted to see if weight and activity level also affected the number of years women lived after being diagnosed with this type of cancer. They found more women lived for at least a 5-year period after they were diagnosed if they had engaged in at least 7 hours of moderate to vigorous physical activity a week. The positive effects of being active were important even for women who were not overweight or obese. Researchers say that more needs to be known about how physical activity plays a role in length of life after endometrial cancer. More physical activity has been shown in other studies to reduce the chances of getting other diseases, such as diabetes.

Arem H, Park Y, Pelser C, Ballard-Barbash R, Irwin ML, Hollenbeck A, Gierach GL, Brinton LA, Pfeiffer RM, Matthews CE. Prediagnosis body mass index, physical activity, and mortality in endometrial cancer patients. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2013; 105:342-9.