TABLE 14-1 Correlation Coefficients Between Mortality (1984-1987) and Nutritional Data (1979-1981), Standardized for Energy Intake, for Average of Males and Females from 36 Countries

Cause of Death

Total Fat

Animal Fat

Vegetable Fat


Coronary disease





Lung cancer





Colon cancer





Breast cancer





*p < 0.05

SOURCE: Epstein (1989). Reprinted with permission of Oxford University Press.

sources in particular. On the other hand, those countries which have demonstrated an increase in cardiovascular mortality rates have shown trends of increasing animal and total fat consumption (Epstein, 1989). Taken together, these comparisons provide a comprehensive picture of the potential ability to reduce cardiovascular disease rates through reductions in dietary saturated fat and cholesterol, acknowledging the simultaneous contributions of other factors in the overall disease trends. Additional information on the scientific rationale for the lowering of total dietary fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol is available in the literature (Carleton et al., 1991).

Based on this scientific evidence, a variety of U.S. national research and policy organizations have recommended reducing total dietary fat to less than 30 percent of calories, saturated fat to less than 10 percent of calories, and cholesterol to less than 300 milligrams per day (mg/day) for the entire U.S. Population.2 Additional reductions in saturated fat and cholesterol are recommended for persons with such conditions as hypercholesterolemia, obesity, and coronary disease (Carleton et al., 1991). It is emphasized that these dietary changes should be part of a comprehensive program to improve lifestyles in general, including smoking cessation and increased physical activity.

Evidence from within the NIS suggests that saturated fat may likewise be a worthy target for intervention in the region. Comparison of the nutrient intake of middle-aged men in the United States and the Soviet Union in the Lipid Research Clinics Prevalence Study showed, if anything, that saturated fat consumption was higher among Soviet than among U.S. men (U.S.-U.S.S.R. Steering Committee for Problem Area I, 1984). Until 1990, per capita consumption of meat, eggs, and whole-fat dairy products increased annually in the Soviet Union, contributing to the 36 percent of calories from fat in the Russian diet in 1990 (see Popkin et al.,

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