Dietary cholesterol and egg intake in relation to incident cardiovascular disease and all-cause and cause-specific mortality in postmenopausal women

Guo Chong Chen, Li Hua Chen, Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani, Victor Kamensky, Aladdin H. Shadyab, Bernhard Haring, Robert A. Wild, Brian Silver, Lewis H. Kuller, Yangbo Sun, Nazmus Saquib, Barbara Howard, Linda G. Snetselaar, Marian L. Neuhouser, Matthew A. Allison, Linda Van Horn, Jo Ann E. Manson, Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, Qibin Qi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: The potential cardiovascular impact of dietary cholesterol intake has been actively debated for decades. Objectives: We aimed to evaluate associations of dietary cholesterol and egg intakes with incident cardiovascular disease (CVD) and all-cause and cause-specific mortality. Methods: We included 96,831 US postmenopausal women aged 50-79 y without known CVD or cancer during baseline enrollment (1993-1998) of the Women's Health Initiative. Dietary information was collected using a validated FFQ. Incident CVD [i.e., ischemic heart disease (IHD) and stroke] and all-cause and cause-specific mortality were ascertained and adjudicated through February 2018. Results: A total of 9808 incident CVD cases and 19,508 all-cause deaths occurred during a median follow-up of 17.8 y and 18.9 y, respectively. After multivariable adjustment for traditional risk factors and key dietary nutrients including dietary saturated fat, there were modest associations of dietary cholesterol intake with incident CVD (HRQ5versusQ1: 1.12; 95% CI: 1.03, 1.21; P-Trend < 0.001) and all-cause mortality (HRQ5versusQ1: 1.09; 95% CI: 1.02, 1.15; P-Trend < 0.001). Significant positive associations were also observed between dietary cholesterol and incident IHD (P-Trend = 0.007), incident ischemic stroke (P-Trend = 0.002), and CVD mortality (P-Trend = 0.002), whereas there was an inverse association for incident hemorrhagic stroke (P-Trend = 0.037) and no association for mortality from cancer, Alzheimer disease/dementia, respiratory diseases, or other causes (P-Trend > 0.05). Higher egg consumption was also associated with modestly higher risk of incident CVD (P-Trend = 0.004) and all-cause mortality (P-Trend < 0.001), with HRs of 1.14 (95% CI: 1.04, 1.25) and 1.14 (95% CI: 1.07, 1.22), respectively, when comparing ≥1 egg/d with <1 egg/wk. Conclusions: Both higher dietary cholesterol intake and higher egg consumption appeared to be associated with modestly elevated risk of incident CVD and all-cause mortality in US postmenopausal women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)948-959
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2021


  • cardiovascular disease
  • cholesterol
  • diet
  • eggs
  • postmenopausal women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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