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NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study: Impact of Diet and Lifestyle Factors on Cancer Incidence

See topic list of research from this study at end of article.

In 1987, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) invited AARP to collaborate with it on an investigation of the relationship between diet, disease, and death. Focusing on how lifestyle and behavior influences one's likelihood of developing cancer, the ground-breaking NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study was AARP's first large-scale research collaboration and is the largest study of its type ever conducted on diet and cancer.

NIH contacted AARP because of the organization's large membership of people over age 50 and its strong commitment to health promotion for its members. AARP assisted with many aspects of the initial cohort recruitment, including contacting 3.5 million AARP members by mail and offering them the opportunity to volunteer for the project while protecting their privacy and confidentiality.

The study cohort of 567,169 AARP members consists of 340,148 men and 227,021 women, who were between the ages of 50 and 71 in 1995-1996, and resided in California, Florida, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina, Louisiana, and metropolitan Atlanta and Detroit. For comparison, the Framingham Heart Study has a cohort of 14,428 and the Women's Health Initiative has 161,808 women.

With findings from the study being released since late 2006, AARP continues working with NCI by assisting with cohort maintenance and working to expand and extend the study's scope so that all persons may benefit from what is learned about the role of lifestyle factors, cancer, and other diseases.

For a copy of these publications and others related to the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, visit the National Cancer Institute.

Energy Balance

Body-Mass Index (BMI)
Weight Change

Diet Nutrients

Multivitamin Use
Vitamin E

Diet Foods

Dietary Fat
Meat and Meat Mutagens

Lifestyle Factors

Alcohol & Smoking
Hormone Replacement Therapy

Cancer Sites

Head & Neck
Esophageal & Gastric

Further information about the study or individual reports may be obtained by contacting Nancy Wood of AARP at or 202-434-2583.

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