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Fiber May Lessen Lifetime Risk for Heart Problems

TUESDAY, March 22 (HealthDay News) -- New research suggests that middle-age and younger adults who eat high amounts of fiber are less likely to suffer from heart disease over their lives.

The findings add to existing research that links high-fiber diets to lower rates of high blood pressure, obesity and high cholesterol.

Researchers from Northwestern University came to the conclusion after studying the results of a 2003-2008 survey of 11,079 people, all aged 20 and older, with an average age of 46. About half were women, 22 percent were black and 27 percent were Mexican-American.

The researchers divided the study participants into four groups based on how much fiber they ate a day and then predicted their lifetime risk for heart disease based on such factors as blood pressure and whether they smoked.

In people 20 to 39 years old as well as those 40 to 59 years old, those who consumed the most fiber had a significantly lower risk for cardiovascular disease than those with the least intake of fiber, the study found.

The findings were to be presented Tuesday in Atlanta at an American Heart Association scientific session on nutrition, physical activity, metabolism and cardiovascular disease epidemiology and prevention. Research presented at meetings should be considered preliminary until it has been subjected to the rigorous scrutiny required for publication in peer-reviewed medical journals.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more on adding fiber to the diet.

-- Randy Dotinga

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, March 22, 2011

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