Diet and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in older women

JAMA. 1996 May 1;275(17):1315-21. doi: 10.1001/jama.1996.03530410029029.


Objective: To test whether high dietary intakes of fat, protein, and milk are associated with the development of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in older women.

Design: Prospective cohort study with a 7-year follow-up period.

Setting: General community.

Participants: Sample of 35 156 Iowa women aged 55 to 69 years with no prior history of cancer who returned the 1986 baseline questionnaire.

Main outcome measure: Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (104 incident cases).

Main results: After controlling for age, marital status, residence, total energy intake, and transfusion history, the relative risks (RRs) for the highest tertile of intake compared with the lowest were 2.00 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.21-3.30; P for trend = .01) for animal fat, 1.69 (95% CI, 1.07-2.67; P for trend = .02) for saturated fat, and 1.90 (95% CI, 1.18-3.04; P for trend = .01) for monounsaturated fat, and there was no association with vegetable fat or polyunsaturated fat. Greater intake of animal protein (RR = 1.52; 95% CI, 0.94-2.44; P for trend = .08), but not vegetable protein, was associated with elevated risk, and this was mainly explained by greater consumption of red meat (RR = 1.98; 95% CI, 1.13-3.47; P for trend = .02) and hamburger in particular (RR = 2.35; 95% CI, 1.23-4.48; P for trend = .02). Milk and dairy product consumption were not associated with elevated risk. There was also a decreased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma with greater consumption of fruits (RR = 0.64; 95% CI, 0.40-1.05; P for trend = .07).

Conclusions: A high-meat diet and a high intake of fat from animal sources is associated with an increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in older women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cooking
  • Diet Surveys
  • Diet* / adverse effects
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / etiology*
  • Meat
  • Middle Aged
  • Milk
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Vegetables


  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Proteins