Objective: To investigate the relation of baseline antioxidant, fruit, vegetable and fish intake with 20 y chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) mortality in middle-aged men from three European countries.
Design: Prospective study (1970-1990).
Setting: Five population-based cohorts of middle-aged men from Finland, Italy and The Netherlands.
Subjects: A total of 2917 men aged 50-69 y at baseline.
Methods: Baseline information on diet was collected using the cross-check dietary history method. After 20 y of follow-up the underlying cause of death of those who died was established centrally. Survival analyses were performed using the Cox Proportional Hazards Model.
Results: After adjustment for age, smoking and country, we observed an inverse trend (P-trend <0.05) of 20 y COPD mortality across tertiles of fruit and vitamin E intake. No trend was observed for vegetables, fish, vitamin C and beta-carotene. When modelled continuously, a 100 g increase in fruit intake was associated with a 24% lower COPD mortality risk (RR=0.76, 95% CI=0.60-0.92). For vitamin E intake (per 5 mg) the RR was 0.77 (95% CI=0.55-1.06), after adjustment for age, smoking and country. Additional adjustment for body mass index, total energy intake and alcohol consumption reduced the RR to 0.86 (95% CI=0.69-1.07, P=0.12) for fruit and 0.93 (95% CI=0.65-1.33) for vitamin E.
Conclusions: Our results suggest a protective effect of fruit and possibly vitamin E intake against COPD. No effect was observed for intake of vitamin C, beta-carotene, vegetables and fish.