Aims: To test the hypothesis that chocolate consumption is associated with a lower risk of heart failure (HF).
Methods and results: We prospectively studied 20 278 men from the Physicians' Health Study. Chocolate consumption was assessed between 1999 and 2002 via a self-administered food frequency questionnaire and HF was ascertained through annual follow-up questionnaires with validation in a subsample. We used Cox regression to estimate multivariable adjusted relative risk of HF. During a mean follow-up of 9.3 years there were 876 new cases of HF. The mean age at baseline was 66.4 ± 9.2 years. Hazard ratios [95% confidence intervals (CI)] for HF were 1.0 (ref), 0.86 (0.72-1.03), 0.80 (0.66-0.98), 0.92 (0.74-1.13), and 0.82 (0.63-1.07), for chocolate consumption of less than 1/month, 1-3/week, 2-4/week, and 5+/week, respectively, after adjusting for age, body mass index (BMI), smoking, alcohol, exercise, energy intake, and history of atrial fibrillation (P for quadratic trend = 0.62). In a secondary analysis, chocolate consumption was inversely associated with risk of HF in men whose BMI was <25 kg/m(2) [HR (95% CI) = 0.59 (0.37-0.94) for consumption of 5+ servings/week, P for linear trend = 0.03) but not in those with BMI of 25+ kg/m(2) [HR (95% CI) = 1.01 (0.73-1.39), P for linear trend = 0.42, P for interaction = 0.17).
Conclusions: Our data suggest that moderate consumption of chocolate might be associated with a lower risk of HF in male physicians.
Keywords: Epidemiology; Heart failure; Nutrition; Risk factors.
© 2014 The Authors. European Journal of Heart Failure © 2014 European Society of Cardiology.