Drinking Coffee Lowers Mortality Risk?

Jennifer Barrett, Assistant Editor
Published Online: Tuesday, July 11th, 2017
A recently-published study has found another reason to enjoy a cup of coffee.

Drinking coffee may have potentially life-saving benefits, according to new research examining lifestyle risk factors associated with cancer.1 While previous research has indicated coffee’s cancer-preventing role, few data up until now have been available to determine the effects of coffee consumption across varying racial and ethnic backgrounds.

The findings, taken from the Multiethnic Cohort Study, determined that individuals who drink a cup of coffee a day were 12% less likely to die compared to non-coffee drinkers from several different health conditions. Those who drank 2-3 cups per day further reduced their risk of death by 18%.

In a collaborative effort between the University of Hawaii Cancer Center and the Keck School of Medicine, researchers noted an association between coffee consumption and a lower risk of death due to heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and respiratory and kidney disease. The study, which is ongoing, includes more than 215,000 participants who are African American, Japanese American, Latino, and white, making it the largest and most diverse study of its kind.

The researchers examined the study participants’ coffee drinking habits and other variable factors. Participants completed questionnaires about diet, lifestyle, and family and personal medical history. Additionally, participants reported their coffee drinking habits, and updated them every 5 years. This included checking 1 of 9 boxes, ranging from “never or hardly ever” to 4 or more cups daily”, and reporting whether they drank caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee.

Overall, 16% of participants reported never drinking coffee. Thirty-one percent reported drinking 1 cup per day, 25% reported drinking 2-3 cups per day, and 7% reported consuming 4 or more cups of coffee per day. The remaining 21% reported irregular coffee consumption habits.

About 31% of participants died over the course of the study. Cardiovascular disease (36%) and cancer (31%) were the most common causes of death. The average follow-up period was 16 years.

The researchers determined that both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee consumption were linked to lower mortality.

Despite coffee’s health benefits, the researchers warned that drinking hot coffee or beverages can still cause cancer in the esophagus. However, the findings provide evidence to support a healthy coffee habit, which can potentially lead to a longer and healthier life.


1. Park S, Freedman ND, Haiman CA, et al. Association of coffee consumption with total and cause-specific mortality among nonwhite populations. Ann Intern Med. 2017. doi: 10.7326/M16-2472

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