No evidence drinking tea reduces risk of premature death

No evidence drinking tea reduces risk of premature death
No evidence drinking tea reduces risk of premature death

“The miracle drink! Tea reduces the risk of early death”.

Daily Mail, August 30, 2022.

A headline published in the Daily Mail newspaper on August 30 states: “Tea reduces risk of early death”.

The article reports on a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health in the United States, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, which explored the potential association between black tea consumption and lower mortality risk. However, the print headline of the Daily Mail is wrong to suggest that the study has proven that tea is responsible for reducing death rates.

Although the study found that participants who drank two or more cups of tea a day were less likely to die from any cause during the follow-up period than those who did not, it did not prove a causal relationship between drinking tea and not suffering an untimely death.

Full Fact has contacted the Daily Mail about this error, and the paper has now issued a correction, published in today’s newspaper.

It reads: ‘A headline of an article in Tuesday’s newspaper said drinking tea reduces risk of premature death. Although a study found that this may be the case – as the article correctly explained – it did not prove that there was a causal relationship.

Study found tea was ‘moderately associated’ with lower risk of death

The study in question involved 498,043 men and women in the UK aged 40-69 who self-reported their tea consumption.

After a median follow-up period of about 11 years, those who drank two or more cups a day had a 9% to 13% lower risk of all-cause mortality than those who did not drink tea.

However, the study did not show that tea consumption was the reason for this lower mortality risk.

Study author Dr Maki Inoue-Choi is quoted in the Daily Mail as saying the study is “observational”, meaning it is impossible to say whether drinking the tea itself or other factors associated with a higher likelihood of tea drinking accounted for the lower mortality risk.

Speaking about the study, Professor of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the Autonomous University of Madrid, Fernando Rodríguez Artalejo, told the Science Media Center: “Like any observational epidemiological study, this one does not definitively establish that tea is the cause of lower mortality among tea drinkers; this is because it cannot rule out that the lower mortality is due to other health factors associated with tea drinking (called “confounders”).

The Mail article later clarifies that the study found “regular consumption could reduce the risk of premature death” (our emphasis) while a different title on the online version of the article says “Why drinking TEA could help you live longer: People who enjoy two cups of tea a day are 13% less likely to fall prematurely. ”.

The online version also clarifies that “the observational study cannot prove that tea was responsible for the lower mortality risk and not other lifestyle factors.” However, this is not included in the printed article, which appeared on page 3 of the newspaper.

Journals that falsely claim that studies have found causal relationships, when in fact they have only demonstrated the correlation, are a common problem.

We recently wrote articles highlighting similar misreporting of studies on tea drinking and dementia, gum disease and mental health and sleep time and heart disease.

Image courtesy of dungthuyvunguyen

. No evidence drinking tea reduced risk death premature

. evidence drinking tea reduces risk premature death

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