Eating fried foods may increase the risk of heart disease and death in women over 50.

Researchers used health and dietary data on 106,966 postmenopausal women enrolled in a large health study between 1993 and 1998, and followed their health through the beginning of 2017.

They found that compared with women who ate none, those who ate fried chicken once a week or more had 12 percent increased risk of premature death from any cause and an 11 percent increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Women who ate fried fish that often had a 7 percent increased risk of mortality and a 12 percent increased risk of cardiovascular death compared with those who ate none.

The study, in BMJ, controlled for age, race, education and many diet, health and behavioral characteristics.

“These are modest associations,” said the senior author, Dr. Wei Bao, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa. “And fried food is just one component of an overall diet. But it is probably a good idea at least to reduce portion size and frequency of consumption of fried food.”

The public health implications could be significant. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on any given day, more than a third of American adults patronize fast-food restaurants, where fried chicken and fish are staples.

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