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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Iowa Study Finds Fried Food Linked to Increased Risk of Death

Regularly eating fried food is linked with a heightened risk of death from any cause and of heart related death among postmenopausal women, a new study led by University of Iowa College of Public Health researchers has found.

The researchers say that reducing consumption of fried foods, especially fried chicken and fried fish or shellfish, could have a positive public health impact. The study was published Jan. 23, 2019, in BMJ.

“People know fried food may have adverse health outcomes, but there is very little scientific evidence to demonstrate what the long-term adverse outcomes are for eating fried foods,” says Dr. Wei Bao, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa College of Public Health and a co-author of the study. “In general, we found that fried food consumption is associated with overall mortality.”

The researchers looked at about 20 years’ worth of data for almost 107,000 older women in the U.S., ages 50-79. All of the women were part of the Women’s Health Initiative study, and they filled out one detailed questionnaire about their dietary habits in the 1990s. Their health was tracked by researchers until 2017, and during that time more than 31,500 people died.

Those who reported eating at least one serving of fried food per day had about an 8 percent higher chance of dying early, compared to women who said they did not eat any, according to the study. They also had an 8 percent higher chance of dying specifically from cardiovascular disease.

The University of Iowa College of Public Health researchers included Dr. Yangbo Sun and Dr. Buyun Liupost, post-doctoral research scholars in epidemiology; Dr. Linda Snetselaar, Dr. Jennifer Robinson, and Dr. Robert Wallace, professors of epidemiology; and Dr. Lindsay Peterson, assistant professor, Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis.