Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Associations between frequency of tea consumption and health and mortality: evidence from old Chinese

  • Li Qiu (a1), Jessica Sautter (a2) (a3) and Danan Gu (a4)

Tea consumption may be associated with reduced risk of morbidity and mortality; however, this association is not conclusive and has rarely been investigated among very old adults. The present study examines how self-reported frequency of tea consumption in daily life is associated with health and mortality among very old adults in China. The data are from a national longitudinal data set that included 32 606 individuals (13 429 men and 19 177 women) aged 65 years and older: 11 807 respondents aged 65 to 84 years and 20 799 respondents aged 85 years and older. A total of four measurements between 1998 and 2005 resulted in 51 668 observations. Hazard regressions showed that men who drink tea almost every day have a 10–20 % lower risk of death compared to their counterparts who seldom drink tea, after adjusting for numerous confounders including baseline health. This relationship was stronger in younger male elders aged 65 to 84 years than in the oldest-old men aged 85 years and older. However, frequency of tea consumption was not significantly associated with mortality in women. Our analyses further show that high frequency of tea consumption is significantly associated with reduced OR of disability in activities of daily living, cognitive impairment, self-rated poor health, cumulative health deficits and CVD in both young elders and the oldest-old, and in both men and women. These results suggest that the health benefit of drinking tea is universal. We conclude that frequent tea consumption probably helps one achieve healthy longevity and that men benefit more from such lifestyles.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Associations between frequency of tea consumption and health and mortality: evidence from old Chinese
      Available formats
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Associations between frequency of tea consumption and health and mortality: evidence from old Chinese
      Available formats
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Associations between frequency of tea consumption and health and mortality: evidence from old Chinese
      Available formats
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: D. Gu, email
Hide All
1Henderson L, Gregory J & Swan G (2002) National Diet and Nutrition Survey: Adults aged 19 to 64 years, vol. 2: Energy, Protein, Fat and Carbohydrate Intake. London: The Stationery Office.
2Clement Y (2009) Can green tea do that? A literature review of the clinical evidence. Prev Med 49, 8387.
3Inoue M, Tajima K, Hirose K, et al. (1998) Tea and coffee consumption and the risk of digestive tract cancers: data from a comparative case-referent study in Japan. Cancer Causes Control 9, 209216.
4Iwai N, Ohshiro H, Kurozawa Y, et al. (2002) Relationship between coffee and green tea consumption and all-cause mortality in a cohort of a rural Japanese population. J Epidemiol 12, 191198.
5Nakachi K, Matsuyama S, Miyake S, et al. (2000) Preventive effects of drinking green tea on cancer and cardiovascular disease: epidemiological evidence for multiple targeting prevention. Biofactors 13, 4954.
6Nakachi K, Eguchi H & Imai K (2003) Can teatime increase one's lifetime? Ageing Res Rev 2, 110.
7Wu AH, Yu MC, Tseng CC, et al. (2003) Green tea and risk of breast cancer in Asian Americans. Int J Cancer 106, 574579.
8Kuriyama S, Shimazu T, Ohmori K, et al. (2006) Green tea consumption and mortality due to cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all causes in Japan: the Ohsaki Study. JAMA 296, 12551265.
9Arab L, Liu W & Elashoff D (2009) Green and black tea consumption and risk of stroke: a meta-analysis. Stroke 40, 17861792.
10Gardner EJ, Ruxton CHS & Leeds AR (2007) Black tea – helpful or harmful? A review of the evidence. Eur J Clin Nutr 61, 318.
11Hoshiyama Y, Kawaguchi T, Miura Y, et al. (2002) A prospective study of stomach cancer death in relation to green tea consumption in Japan. Br J Cancer 87, 309313.
12Li Q, Kakizaki M, Kuriyama S, et al. (2008) Green tea consumption and lung cancer: the Ohsaki Study. Br J Cancer 99, 11791184.
13Imai K, Suga K & Nakachi K (1997) Cancer-preventive effects of drinking green tea among a Japanese population. Prev Med 26, 769775.
14Ide R, Fujino Y, Hoshiyama Y, et al. (2007) A prospective study of green tea consumption and oral cancer incidence in Japan. Ann Epidemiol 17, 821826.
15Sasazuki S, Inoue M, Hanaoka T, et al. (2004) Green tea consumption and subsequent risk of gastric cancer by site: the JPHC Study. Cancer Causes Control 15, 483491.
16Sasazuki S, Kodama H, Yoshimasu K, et al. (2000) Relation between green tea consumption and the severity of coronary atherosclerosis among Japanese men and women. Ann Epidemiol 10, 401408.
17Lee JE, Hunter DJ, Spiegelman D, et al. (2007) Intakes of coffee, tea, milk soda and juice and renal cell cancer in a pooled analysis of 13 prospective studies. Int J Cancer 121, 22462253.
18Ascherio A, Weisskopf MG, O'Reilly EJ, et al. (2004) Coffee consumption, gender and Parkinson's disease mortality in the Cancer Prevention Study II Cohort: the modifying effects of estrogen. Am J Epidemiol 160, 977984.
19Yang G, Shu XO, Li H, et al. (2007) Prospective cohort study of green tea consumption and colorectal cancer risk in women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 16, 12191223.
20Rimm EB & Stampfer MJ (2004) Diet, lifestyle, and longevity – the next steps? JAMA 292, 14901492.
21Thompson ME, Fong GT, Hammond D, et al. (2006) Methods of the International Tobacco Control (ITC) four country survey. Tobacco Control 15, Suppl. III, iii12iii18.
22U.S. Census Bureau (2002) Survey Income and Program Participation.
23Gu D (2008) General data assessment of the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey in 2002. In Healthy Longevity in China: Demographic, Socioeconomic, and Psychological Dimensions, pp. 3859 [, editors]. Dordrecht: Springer Publisher.
24Herzog AR & Rodgers WL (1992) The use of survey method in research on older Americans. In The Epidemiologic Study of the Elederly, pp. 6090 [, editors]. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
25Gu D & Dupre ME (2008) Assessment of reliability of mortality and morbidity in the 1998–2002 CLHLS waves. In Healthy Longevity in China: Demographic, Socioeconomic, and Psychological Dimensions, pp. 99115 [, editors]. Dordrecht: Springer.
26Katz S, Ford AB, Moskowitz RW, et al. (1963) Studies of illness in the aged. The index of ADL: a standardized measure of biological and psychosocial function. JAMA 185, 914919.
27Folstein MF, Folsein SE, McHugh RR, et al. (1975) “Mini-Mental state”: a practical method for grading the cognitive state of pattern for clinician. J Psychol Res 12, 189198.
28Zeng Y, Vaupel JW, Xiao Z, et al. (2002) Sociodemographic and health profiles of oldest-old in China. Popul Dev Rev 28, 251273.
29Zhang Z (2006) Gender differentials in cognitive impairment and decline of the oldest old in China. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 61, S107S115.
30Abellan van Kan G, Rolland Y, Berhman H, et al. (2008) The I.A.N.A. task force on frailty assessment of older people in clinical practice. J Nutr Health Aging 12, 2937.
31Bergman H, Ferrucci L, Guralnik J, et al. (2007) Frailty: an emerging research and clinical paradigm – issues and controversies. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 62, 731737.
32Gu D, Dupre ME, Sautter J, et al. (2009) Frailty and mortality among Chinese at advanced ages. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 64B, 279289.
33Kulminski A, Yashin A, Ukraintseva S, et al. (2006) Accumulation of heath disorders as a systemic measure of aging: findings from the NLTCS data. Mech Ageing Dev 127, 840848.
34Mitnitski AB, Song X, Skoog I, et al. (2005) Relative fitness and frailty of elderly men and women in developed countries and their relationship with mortality. J Am Geriatr Soc 35, 21842189.
35Goggins WB, Woo J, Sham A, et al. (2005) Frailty index as a measure of biological age in a Chinese population. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 60, M1046M1051.
36Gu D (2009) The validity of health deficit index among Chinese old adults. Popul Eco 5, 5257.
37Gu D, Zhang Z & Zeng Y (2009) Access to healthcare services makes a difference in healthy longevity among older Chinese adults. Soc Sci Med 68, 210219.
38Ferrucci L, Turchi A, Fumagallo S, et al. (2003) Sex-related differences in the length of disability prior to death in older persons. Aging Clin Exp Res 15, 310314.
39Liang J, Bennett J, Sugisawa H, et al. (2003) Gender differences in old age mortality: roles of health behavior and baseline health status. J Clin Epidemiol 56, 572582.
40Strawbridge WJ, Shema SJ, Cohen RD, et al. (2001) Religious attendance increases survival by improving and maintaining good health behaviors, mental health, and social relationships. Ann Behav Med 23, 6874.
41Stuck AE, Walthert JM, Nikolaus T, et al. (1999) Risk factors for functional status decline in community-living elderly people: a systematic literature review. Soc Sci Med 48, 445489.
42Hayward MD & Pienta AM (1997) Inequality in men's mortality: the socioeconomic status gradient and geographic context. J Health Soc Behav 38, 313330.
43Hwang H & Tajkane Y (2004) A multivariate reduced-rank growth curve model with unbalanced data. Psychometrika 69, 6579.
44Allison PD (2002) Missing Data. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
45Landerman LR, Land KC & Pieper CF (1997) An empirical evaluation of the predictive mean matching method for imputing missing values. Soc Methods Res 26, 333.
46Winship C & Radbill L (1994) Sampling weights and regression analysis. Soc Methods Res 23, 230257.
47Hertog MG, Sweetnam PM, Fehily AM, et al. (1997) Antioxidant flavonols and ischemic heart disease in a Welsh population of men: the Caerphilly Study. Am J Clin Nutr 65, 14891494.
48Mojžišová G & Kuchta M (2001) Dietary flavonoids and risk of coronary heart disease. Physiol Res 50, 529535.
49Weisburger JH & Chung FL (2002) Mechanisms of chronic disease causation by nutritional factors and tobacco products and their prevention by tea polyphenols. Food Chem Toxicol 40, 11451154.
50Aneja R, Odoms K, Denenberg AG, et al. (2004) Theaflavin, a black tea extract, is a novel anti-inflammatory compound. Crit Care Med 32, 20972103.
51Ju J, Hong J, Zhou JN, et al. (2005) Inhibition of intestinal tumorigenesis in Apcmin/t mice by ( − )-epigallocatechin-3-gallate, the major catechin in green tea. Cancer Res 65, 1062310631.
52Dufresne CJ & Farnworth ER (2001) A review of the latest findings on the health promotion properties of tea. J Nutr Biochem 12, 404421.
53Rietveld A & Wiseman S (2003) Antioxidant effects of tea: evidence from human clinical trials. Am Soc Nutr Sci 133, 3285S3292S.
54Heiss ML & Heiss RJ (2007) The Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press.
55Hercberg S, Galan P, Preziosi P, et al. (2004) The SU.VI.MAX Study: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial of the health effects of antioxidant vitamins and minerals. Arch Intern Med 164, 23352343.
56Snel J, Koppes LLJ & Twisk JW (2009) Sensitivity to coffee and subjective health. Act Nerv Super Rediviva 51, 6168.
57Shim JS, Kang MH, Kim YH, et al. (1995) Chemopreventive effect of green tea (Camellia sinensis) among cigarette smokers. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 4, 387391.
58Higdon JV & Frei B (2005) Is there a gender difference in the effect of antioxidants on cancer risk? Br J Nutr 94, 139140.
59Waters DJ, Chiang EC, Cooley DM, et al. (2004) Making sense of sex and supplements: differences in the anticarcinogenic effects of selenium in men and women. Mutat Res 551, 91107.
60Feinglass J, Lin S, Thompson J, et al. (2007) Baseline health, socioeconomic status, and 10-year mortality among older middle-aged Americans: findings from the health and retirement study, 1992–2002. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 62, S209S217.
61Boedhi-Darmojo R (2002) Trends in dietary habits of the elderly: the Indonesian case. Asia Pacific J Clin Nutr 11, 351354.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

British Journal of Nutrition
  • ISSN: 0007-1145
  • EISSN: 1475-2662
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 10
Total number of PDF views: 160 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 281 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 21st October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.