Intake of fatty acids and risk of coronary heart disease in a cohort of Finnish men. The Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study

Am J Epidemiol. 1997 May 15;145(10):876-87. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a009047.


The relation of intakes of specific fatty acids and the risk of coronary heart disease was examined in a cohort of 21,930 smoking men aged 50-69 years who were initially free of diagnosed cardiovascular disease. All men participated in the Finnish Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study and completed a detailed and validated dietary questionnaire at baseline. After 6.1 years of follow-up from 1985-1988, the authors documented 1,399 major coronary events and 635 coronary deaths. After controlling for age, supplement group, several coronary risk factors, total energy, and fiber intake, the authors observed a significant positive association between the intake of trans-fatty acids and the risk of coronary death. For men in the top quintile of trans-fatty acid intake (median = 6.2 g/day), the multivariate relative risk of coronary death was 1.39 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.09-1.78) (p for trend = 0.004) as compared with men in the lowest quintile of intake (median = 1.3 g/day). The intake of omega-3 fatty acids from fish was also directly related to the risk of coronary death in the multivariate model adjusting also for trans-saturated and cis-monounsaturated fatty acids (relative risk (RR) = 1.30, 95% CI 1.01-1.67) (p for trend = 0.06 for men in the highest quintile of intake compared with the lowest). There was no association between intakes of saturated or cis-monounsaturated fatty acids, linoleic or linolenic acid, or dietary cholesterol and the risk of coronary deaths. All the associations were similar but somewhat weaker for all major coronary events.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Coronary Disease / etiology*
  • Coronary Disease / prevention & control
  • Diet Surveys
  • Dietary Fats*
  • Energy Intake*
  • Fatty Acids*
  • Finland
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vitamin E / therapeutic use
  • beta Carotene / therapeutic use


  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • beta Carotene
  • Vitamin E