Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Coffee Consumption & Risk of Mortality

Ann Intern Med; ePub 2017 Jul 11; Park S, et al

Higher coffee consumption was associated with lower risk of death among African Americans, Japanese Americans, Latinos, and whites, a recent study found. The MEC (Multiethnic Cohort) population-based cohort study included 185,855 African Americans, Native Hawaiians, Japanese Americans, Latinos, and whites aged 45 to 75 years between 1993 and 1996 and looked at the association of coffee consumption with risk for total and cause-specific mortality between 1993 and 2012. Researchers found:

  • 58,397 participants died during 3,195,484 person-years of follow-up.
  • Compared with drinking no coffee, coffee consumption was associated with lower total mortality after adjustment for smoking and other confounders (1 cup/day: HR, 0.88; 2-3 cups/day: HR, 0.82; ≥4 cups/day: HR, 0.82).
  • Trends were similar between caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee.
  • Significant inverse associations were observed in 4 ethnic groups and in never-smokers, younger participants (<55 years, and those who had not previously reported a chronic disease).


Park S, Freedman ND, Haiman CA, Le Marchand L, Wilkens LR, Setiawan VW. Association of coffee consumption with total and cause-specific mortality among nonwhite populations. [Published online ahead of print July 11, 2017] Ann Intern Med. doi:10.7326/M16-2472.


This study provides the evidence needed to conclude that, coffee consumption is healthy and decreases the incidence of many diseases and total mortality, regardless of ethnicity or other habits. Previous studies have shown that drinking coffee decreases the incidence of a number of cancers, diabetes, liver disease, as well as total mortality.1,2 It is surprising, but consistent with previous data, that the effect is apparent for both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee. This study expands upon previous data, showing the effect is robust and consistent across different ethnic backgrounds and is apparent in smokers and nonsmokers. We can tell our patients with clarity, that if they want a cup of coffee, it is not only safe, but healthy for them to have one. —Neil Skolnik, MD

  1. Huxley R, Lee CM, Barzi F, Timmermeister L, Czernichow S, Perkovic V, et al. Coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and tea consumption in relation to incident type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review with meta-analysis. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169:2053-63.
  2. Ding M, Satija A, Bhupathiraju SN, et al. Association of coffee consumption with total and cause-specific mortality in 3 large prospective cohorts. Circulation. 2015;132:2305-15. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.115.017341.