(4 Aug. 2000) -- A study conducted by researchers at the Harvard School
of Public Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Mass.,
examined the link between egg consumption and the risk for coronary
heart disease (CHD) and stroke and men and women; it found
little cause for concern for people who consume one egg per day.
The researchers examined two prospective cohort studies, the Health
Professionals Follow-up Study (1986-1994) and the Nurses' health Study
(1980-1994) with the main outcome measures of incident nonfatal
myocardial infarction, fatal CHD and stroke corresponding to daily egg
consumption. Egg consumption was determined based on responses to a
questionnaire about food frequency.
A total of 37,851 men, aged 40 to 75 years, and 80,082 women, aged 34
to 59 years, who had no cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia or
cancer, participated in this study. The objective was to examine the
association between egg consumption and the risk of coronary heart
disease (CHD) and stroke in healthy men and women.
During the eight years of monitoring the men, there were 866 cases of
CHD and 258 cases of stroke. During the 14 years of monitoring the
women, there were 939 cases of CHD and 563 cases of stroke. However,
after adjusting the findings for age, smoking and other potential CHD
risk factors, there was no evidence of an association between eating
eggs and the risk of CHD or stroke in either men or women.
Among men and women with diabetes, however, higher egg consumption
(more than one egg per day compared with less than one egg per week) was
associated with an increased risk of CHD.
The study, "A Prospective
Study of Egg Consumption and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in
Men and Women," was published in the Journal of the American
Medical Association in 1999, funded through grants awarded by the
National Institutes of Health.
Eating up to one egg per day is unlikely to have substantial impact
on the risk of CHD or stroke among healthy men and women. The apparent
increased risk of CHD seen with higher egg consumption among diabetic
participants warrants further research, the researchers wrote.
Russo Jr. is senior vice president of medical communications at
Vicus.com. He is a pharmacist and medical writer with more than 20 years
of experience in medical education.
This article was updated on 4 Aug. 2000.