Feb
28
2006

Results of the Women's Health Initiative Study


Veggies: Vegetables are an important part of a low fat diet. Image courtesy Icarus Diving.

The Women's Health Initiative is a clinical trial sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, an institute of the National Institutes of Health. It included the largest ever study of a low-fat diet in postmenopausal women to see if such a diet reduced their rate of contracting certain diseases. 48,835 women aged 50-79 participated for an average of 8 years. The results of the low-fat diet trial showed no significant reduction in the rate of breast cancer, heart disease, or stroke and no effect on the risk of colorectal cancer. However, the women in the study had trouble sticking to the recommended amount of daily fat and they did not necessarily cut out the types of fat considered most harmful (saturated fats and trans fats).

What About Nutritional Supplements?

The study also followed 36,282 women of the same age range to find out if calcium and vitamin D supplements reduced the rate of broken bones from osteoporosis. Again the results appeared to show no appreciable advantage to taking the supplements, although there was an average of 1% gain in bone density.


X-Ray: Osteoporosis can lead to broken bones. Image courtesy Retrogradeheart.

Drop the Supplements and Forget the Low-Fat Diet?

Researchers found that the trend in positive results was going upwards for the group on the low fat diet enough to encourage the researchers that continued monitoring of the women over the next few years will show a positive result. And people connected with the calcium/vitamin D supplement study say that despite the slightly elevated risk of kidney stones that was seen in some women, the overall gain in bone density was great enough to make a difference for some women and to have a positive impact on money spent on health care for osteoporosis-related injuries.

The upshot is that there are still opportunities to learn more information about how diet and supplements affect the health of these postmenopausal women, including why some subgroups of women were affected in ways that others weren't. Doctors and researchers aren't changing their overall advice yet, although people should always discuss their diets with their doctors as cases can differ from person to person.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I want to be cardiologist when i grow up and i have recently found out that doctors in the uk are making a new mechanical device to fit in the heart so it can detect you having a heart disease before you have one

posted on Tue, 01/30/2007 - 11:16am
bryan kennedy's picture

I couldn't find exactly what your talking about here but did find this one story about heart disease detection. Good luck in your efforts to become a doctor.

posted on Thu, 02/01/2007 - 6:37pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

i think that vegies are a good part of our diet

posted on Mon, 03/12/2007 - 7:36pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I hate them

posted on Tue, 03/13/2007 - 1:46pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Veggies should be added to every ones diet!

posted on Tue, 03/13/2007 - 11:00am
maddison courrier's picture
maddison courrier says:

i agree that veggies are a healthy and nutricious food that gives us energy

posted on Tue, 03/13/2007 - 1:06pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

well I hate vegtables

posted on Tue, 03/13/2007 - 1:45pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

there gross

posted on Tue, 03/13/2007 - 1:47pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I aiso think that veggies are good ,But they taste really awful to some people including myself.

posted on Tue, 03/13/2007 - 4:01pm

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