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Heart Disease Health Center

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Elderly Get Same Fiber Benefit as Others

High-Fiber Breads, Cereals Reduce Heart Disease Risk

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Like the fiber data, the protective benefits of fish have been reported in studies involving younger people. But the CHS study showed that eating fried fish or fried-fish sandwiches wasn't helpful at all, and may have increased heart disease risk.

"The previous studies looking at fish and cardiovascular risk have not really addressed how fish is prepared," Mozaffarian says. "People may be getting the message that it is healthy to eat fast-food fried fish every day, but this study suggests the opposite is true."

More than 300 papers have been published using information from the Cardiovascular Health Study, and about half of the study participants are still living, project officer Jean L. Olson, MD, MPH, tells WebMD. One emerging theme from the data is that the lifestyle and medical interventions recommended for lowering heart disease risk in middle-age people remain important for the elderly, she says.

"Doctors are often hesitant about treating elderly people or recommending lifestyle changes for a variety of reasons," Olson says." They may feel that the damage has been done, or older patients may already be on too many other medications. But just because someone is older doesn't mean they can't still benefit from these interventions."

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