Mortality outcomes associated with intake of fast-food items and sugar-sweetened drinks among older adults in the Vitamins and Lifestyle (VITAL) study.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Public health nutrition, p.1-8 (2016)


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate associations of fast-food items (FFI) and sugar-sweetened drinks (SSD) with mortality outcomes including deaths due to any cause, CVD and total cancers among a large sample of adults.

DESIGN: Using a prospective design, risk of death was compared across baseline dietary exposures. Intakes of FFI and SSD were quantified using a semi-quantitative FFQ (baseline data collected 2000-2002). Deaths (n 4187) were obtained via the Washington State death file through 2008, excluding deaths in the first year of follow-up. Causes of death were categorized as due to CVD (I00-I99) or cancer (C00-D48). Cox models were used to estimated hazard ratios (HR) and 95 % CI.

SETTING: The Vitamins and Lifestyle (VITAL) study among adults living in Western Washington State.

SUBJECTS: Men and women (n 69 582) between 50 and 76 years of age at baseline.

RESULTS: Intakes of FFI and SSD were higher among individuals who were younger, female, African-American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian-American or Pacific Islander, of lower educational attainment, and of lower income (P<0·0001 for all). Higher risk of total mortality was associated with greater intake of FFI (HR=1·16; 95 % CI 1·04, 1·29; P=0·004; comparing highest v. lowest quartile) and SSD (HR=1·19; 95 % CI 1·08, 1·30; P<0·0001; comparing highest v. lowest quartile). Higher intake of FFI was associated with greater cancer-specific mortality while an association with CVD-specific mortality was suggested. Associations between intake of SSD and cause-specific mortality were less clear.

CONCLUSIONS: Intake of FFI and SSD has a detrimental effect on future mortality risk. These findings may be salient to socially patterned disparities in mortality.