(HealthDay News) – High coffee consumption (>4 cups per day) may be associated with higher all-cause mortality in men and women <55 years of age, according to a study published online Aug. 15 in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Junxiu Liu, MD, from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, and colleagues assessed data from 43,727 participants in the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study (699,632 person-years of follow-up). In-person interviews using standardized questionnaires and a medical examination (including fasting blood chemistry analysis, anthropometry, blood pressure, electrocardiography, and a maximal graded exercise test) were used to collect baseline data (Feb. 3, 1971–Dec. 30, 2002).

The researchers found that over the 17-year median follow-up there were 2,512 deaths, with 804 (32%) due to cardiovascular disease. Coffee intake was positively associated with all-cause mortality in men, with men who drank >28 cups of coffee per week having higher all-cause mortality (hazard ratio [HR], 1.21). Age-stratified analysis revealed that younger men (<55 years old) showed a significant relationship between higher coffee consumption and all-cause mortality (HR, 1.56), as did women, even after adjusting for potential confounders and fitness level (HR, 2.13).

“On the basis of these findings, it seems appropriate to suggest that younger people avoid heavy coffee consumption (i.e., averaging more than four cups per day),” the authors write. “However, this finding should be assessed in future studies of other populations.”

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