"The lifetime risk of heart failure is estimated at 20 percent (one in five) for both men and women aged 40 years," according to background information in the article published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
The article also reveals that various studies have substantiated the proposition that the risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease, hypercholesterolemia (high blood cholesterol), and mortality can be reduced with a diet rich in grain products.
Researchers at the Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) and Harvard Medical School, Boston, analysed the association between breakfast cereal intake and new cases of heart failure among 21,376 men with an average age of 53.7 years.
Breakfast cereal intake was estimated by using a food frequency questionnaire, while incident heart failure was assessed by annual follow-up questionnaires for an average of 19.6 years. The authors of the report have revealed that 1,018 of the participants experienced heart failure during follow-up.
The heart failure sufferers included 362 of 6,995 participants who did not eat any cereal, 237 of 4,987 of those who ate one serving or less per week, 230 of 5,227 of those who ate two to six servings per week, and 189 of 4,167 of those who ate seven or more servings per week.
"Our data demonstrate that a higher intake of whole grain breakfast cereals is associated with a lower risk of heart failure," the authors said.
According to them, this association may be due to the beneficial effects of whole grains on heart failure risk factors such as hypertension, myocardial infarction (heart attack), diabetes mellitus and obesity. "If confirmed in other studies, a higher intake of whole grains along with other preventive measures could help lower the risk of heart failure," said the authors.