(HealthDay News) — Among U.S. male physicians, chocolate consumption is not associated with risk of incident atrial fibrillation (AF), according to a study published in the Aug. 15 issue of The American Journal of Cardiology.

Owais Khawaja, MD, MPH, from the Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo, OH, and colleagues conducted a prospective examination of the correlation between chocolate consumption and incident AF in a cohort of 18,819 U.S. male physicians (average age at baseline, 66 years). A self-administered food frequency questionnaire was used to ascertain chocolate consumption from 1999–2002. Annual questionnaires were used to ascertain incident AF during a mean follow-up of 9.0 years.

The researchers identified 2,092 AF cases during follow-up. Compared with less than one per month of chocolate consumption, chocolate intake of one to three per month, and one, two to four, and five or more per week had multivariable adjusted hazard ratios of 1.04 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.93–1.18), 1.10 (95% CI, 0.96–1.25), 1.14 (95% CI, 0.99–1.31), and 1.05 (95% CI, 0.89–1.25), respectively (P for trend, 0.25). There was no evidence of effect modification by adiposity or age in secondary analysis (P interaction, 0.71 and 0.26, respectively).

“In conclusion, our data did not support an association between chocolate consumption and risk of AF in U.S. male physicians,” the authors write.

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