Z Zhang et al. (2011), Habitual coffee consumption and risk of hypertension: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective observational studies, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, published online ahead of print.

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Background: In 2 meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials, increased coffee intake was associated with slightly higher blood pressure. However, these trials were short in duration (<85 d).

Objective: we conducted a systematic review and meta-analyses of long-term prospective studies that examined the association of habitual coffee consumption with risk of hypertension.

Design: We searched electronic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, Agricola, and Cochrane Library) through August 2009 with the use of a standardized protocol. Eligible studies were prospective cohort trials that examined the association of coffee consumption with incident hypertension or blood pressure.

Results: From 6 prospective cohort studies, a total of 172,567 participants and 37,135 incident hypertension cases were included. Mean follow-up ranged from 6.4 to 33.0 y. Compared with the lowest consumption [<1 cup (≈237 mL)/d], the pooled relative risks (RRs) for hypertension were 1.09 (95% CI: 1.01, 1.18) for the next higher category (1-3 cups/d), 1.07 (95% CI: 0.96, 1.20) for the second highest category (3-5 cups/d), and 1.08 (95% CI: 0.96, 1.21) for the highest category (>5 cups/d). A dose-response meta-analysis showed an inverse “J-shaped” curve (P for quadratic term < 0.001) with hypertension risk increasing up to 3 cups/d (RR for comparison of 3 with 0 cups/d: 1.07; 95% CI: 0.97, 1.20) and decreasing with higher intakes (RR for comparison of 6 with 0 cups/d: 0.99; 95% CI: 0.89, 1.10). Conclusion: The results suggest that habitual coffee consumption of >3 cups/d was not associated with an increased risk of hypertension compared with <1 cup/d; however, a slightly elevated risk appeared to be associated with light-to-moderate consumption of 1 to 3 cups/d.

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