The WHI focused on the major causes of death, disability
and frailty in postmenopausal women.
The overall goal of WHI was to reduce coronary heart disease,
breast and colorectal cancer, and osteoporotic-fractures among postmenopausal
women via prevention strategies and risk factor identification.
The Need for Answers
Scientific knowledge about prevention and treatment of
diseases common in or unique to women is insufficient. Successful prevention
strategies will have major public health implications.
Why osteoporosis, heart disease, and colorectal cancer as
primary outcomes in the Clinical Trial/Observational Study?
- One-sixth of all women will have a hip fracture during
- Osteoporotic fractures contribute to increased disability
and lessen the quality of life in older women.
- Hip fractures are more common than combined risk of
breast, uterine and cervical cancer.
- Fractures occur more frequently in women than men (3-4
times more) in those over 50 years of age.
- Limited trial data for women on effect of calcium and
Vitamin D on fracture risk.
Heart Disease in Women
- Leading cause of death in postmenopausal women.
- Over 240,000 women die of heart attacks each year.
- 22% of all deaths among U.S. women.
- Approximately one-half of all coronary deaths occur in
- Long-term clinical trials on hormone therapy
and risk of coronary heart disease among women are lacking.
- 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths in U.S. women.
- Over 46,000 women die of breast cancer annually.
- Approximately 183,000 new cases of breast cancer each
- Inconclusive data on dietary fat intake and breast
- Inconsistent data on hormones and breast cancer risk.
- 3rd leading cause of cancer deaths in U.S. women.
- Over 28,000 women die of colorectal cancer each year.
- Approximately 51,000 women per year are diagnosed with
colon cancer; 16,500 new cases of rectal cancer in women each year.
- Studies suggest increased calcium and Vitamin D intake
may decrease risk of colorectal cancer.