The multiple risk factor intervention trial (MRFIT). IV. Intervention on blood lipids

Arlene W. Caggiula*, George Christakis, Marilyn Farrand, Stephen B. Hulley, Ruth Johnson, Norman L. Lasser, Jeremiah Stamler, Graham Widdowson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations


The results are presented for the first 4 years of the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial (MRFIT) nutrition intervention program. Study participants were at high risk (upper 10-15%) for Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). The Special Intervention (SI) group reached and sustained the goals of an eating pattern originally designed to limit cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg/day, with less than 10% of calories as saturated fat and not more than 10% as polyunsaturated fat. By the end of the first year, mean serum total cholesterol had fallen by 6.3% from the mean initial value of 254 mg/dl. The magnitude of the decrease became slightly greater in the ensuing years, reaching 7.4% by the fourth annual visit. Substantially larger decreases in mean serum cholesterol level were observed in the subgroups with the highest baseline level, greatest weight loss, in those who did not smoke, and in those who had normal blood pressure on entry. The changes in cholesterol level were accompanied by parallel changes in mean plasma LDL cholesterol, which also fell by 6.6% over the 4 years, but mean HDL cholesterol was not substantially altered. Comparison with earlier population data suggests that the overall responses to the MRFIT eating pattern were limited by the apparent fact that participants had already made self-initiated changes toward the fatcontrolled dietary pattern before they entered the study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-475
Number of pages33
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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