Objective: To examine whether diet intervention can promote increased vegetable and fruit intake, as reflected in increased plasma carotenoid and decreased plasma total homocysteine concentrations, in premenopausal women with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, a precancerous condition.
Design: Randomized controlled diet intervention study.
Subjects: Fifty-three free-living premenopausal women who had been diagnosed with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, were randomly assigned to an intervention (n = 27) or a control (n = 26) group.
Intervention: Individualized dietary counseling to increase vegetable and fruit intake.
Main outcome measures: Diet was assessed by food frequency questionnaire. Plasma carotenoids and total homocysteine were measured at enrollment and at 6 months follow up.
Analysis: Associations between baseline plasma concentrations of carotenoids and homocysteine and influencing factors were examined with multiple regression analysis. Repeated measures analysis of variance was used to test for group by time effects in these plasma concentrations. Plasma carotenoids at baseline and 6 months in the study groups, and differences in homocysteine concentrations from baseline to 6 months, were compared with independent sample t tests.
Results: Repeated measures analysis of variance showed significant group by time effects (P<.01) in plasma carotenoid and homocysteine concentrations. In the intervention group, total plasma carotenoids increased by an average of 91%, from 2.04+/-0.13 (mean+/-standard error of the mean) to 3.90+/-0.56 micromol/L and plasma total homocysteine was reduced by 11%, from 9.01+/-0.40 to 8.10+/-0.44 micromol/L (P<.003). Neither changed significantly in the control group.
Applications: Individualized dietary counseling can effectively promote increased vegetable and fruit intake in premenopausal women. This dietary pattern may reduce risk for cancer and other chronic diseases and also promote an improvement in folate status.