Background: Epidemiologic studies report inconsistent findings on the association of fruit and vegetable intake with the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Objective: The objective was to examine the relation between fruit and vegetable intake and the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Design: We studied 9608 adults aged 25-74 y participating in the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Epidemiologic Follow-up Study and free of cardiovascular disease at the time of their baseline examination between 1971 and 1975. Fruit and vegetable intake at baseline was measured with a food-frequency questionnaire. The incidence of and mortality from cardiovascular disease were obtained from medical records and death certificates.
Results: Over an average of 19 y, 888 strokes (218 fatal), 1786 ischemic heart disease events (639 fatal), 1145 cardiovascular disease deaths, and 2530 all-cause deaths were documented. Consuming fruit and vegetables > or = 3 times/d compared with <1 time/d was associated with a 27% lower stroke incidence [relative risk (RR): 0.73; 95% CI: 0.57, 0.95; P for trend = 0.01), a 42% lower stroke mortality (0.58; 0.33, 1.02; P for trend = 0.05), a 24% lower ischemic heart disease mortality (0.76; 0.56, 1.03; P for trend = 0.07), a 27% lower cardiovascular disease mortality (0.73; 0.58, 0.92; P for trend = 0.008), and a 15% lower all-cause mortality (0.85; 0.72, 1.00; P for trend = 0.02) after adjustment for established cardiovascular disease risk factors.
Conclusion: We showed an inverse association of fruit and vegetable intake with the risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality in the general US population.