European Journal of Epidemiology

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 335–346 | Cite as

Dietary fibre and cardiovascular disease mortality in the UK Women’s Cohort Study

  • Diane E. Threapleton
  • Darren C. Greenwood
  • Victoria J. Burley
  • Maryam Aldwairji
  • Janet E. Cade


Dietary fibre has been associated with improvements in key risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Prior research has focussed more on CVD development in men and our aim was therefore to explore the association between dietary fibre intake and CVD mortality using data from the United Kingdom Women’s Cohort Study (UKWCS). Dietary fibre intake from 31,036 women was calculated both as non-starch polysaccharide (NSP) and using the Association of Official Analytical Chemist (AOAC) method from food-frequency questionnaires. Participants were free from history of CVD at baseline and mean age at recruitment was 51.8 years (standard deviation 9.2). Mortality records for participants were linked from national registry data and 258 fatal CVD cases [130 stroke, 128 coronary heart disease (CHD)] were observed over an average follow-up period of 14.3 years. Total dietary fibre (NSP/AOAC) and fibre from different food sources were not associated with fatal CHD, stroke or CVD risk in the full sample. For every 6 g/day increase in NSP, the hazard ratio (HR) was 0.91 (95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.76–1.08) or for every 11 g/day increase in fibre assessed as AOAC, the HR was 0.92 (95 % CI 0.80–1.05). Sensitivity analyses suggest a possible protective association for cereal sources of fibre on fatal stroke risk in overweight women, HR 0.80 (95 % CI 0.65–0.93) p < 0.01. In the UKWCS, a sample of health-conscious women, greater dietary fibre intake may confer no additional cardiovascular benefit, in terms of mortality, but may contribute to lower fatal stroke risk in some subgroups such as overweight women.


Cardiovascular diseases Coronary heart disease Stroke Diet Fibre Epidemiology 



We thank participants who took part in the UK Women’s Cohort Study, Mr. James Thomas for his contributions towards data management for the cohort and other cohort team members who have previously contributed to data collection and processing. The cohort was supported by funding from the World Cancer Research Fund. This work was conducted by DET, who is in receipt of a studentship from Kellogg Marketing and Sales Company (UK) Ltd. Funders played no part in data analysis, interpretation of findings, writing or decision to publish.

Conflict of interest

One author (DET) is in receipt of a studentship from Kellogg Marketing and Sales Company (UK) Ltd. One author is in receipt of an unrelated project grant from Danone (DCG). No other competing interests declared.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diane E. Threapleton
    • 1
  • Darren C. Greenwood
    • 2
  • Victoria J. Burley
    • 1
  • Maryam Aldwairji
    • 1
  • Janet E. Cade
    • 1
  1. 1.Nutritional Epidemiology Group, School of Food Science and NutritionUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  2. 2.Centre for Epidemiology and BiostatisticsUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

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