Dietary soy isoflavone intake in older Japanese American women

Public Health Nutr. 2001 Oct;4(5):943-52. doi: 10.1079/phn2001150.


Objective: In a sample of older Japanese American women, we aimed to: (1) describe the most commonly consumed soy foods, (2) estimate dietary soy isoflavone intake, (3) describe characteristics associated with dietary soy isoflavone intake, and (4) compare our estimates with previously published estimates in other Japanese samples.

Design: A 14-item soy food-frequency questionnaire was administered to older Japanese American women and responses were converted to quantitative estimates of soy isoflavones (genistein plus daidzein). Multiple regression was used to examine characteristics associated with dietary soy isoflavone intake, including self-reported lifestyle and cultural factors and dietary intake of various foods ascertained from a semi-quantitative food-frequency questionnaire. To compare our estimates with other samples, a review of the literature was conducted.

Setting/subjects: Data are from 274 women aged 65+ years, recruited from a longitudinal cohort study of Japanese Americans in King County, Washington State.

Results: The soy foods most commonly consumed were tofu (soybean curd), miso (fermented soybean paste) and aburaage (fried thin soybean curd). The mean intake of dietary soy isoflavones was 10.2 (standard deviation (SD), 12.4) mg day(-1), approximately a quarter to a half that of previously published estimates in Japanese samples. Dietary soy isoflavone intake was positively associated with speaking Japanese, the consumption of traditional Japanese dishes (kamaboko, manju and mochi), low-fat/non-fat milk and yellow/red vegetables, vitamin E supplement use, and walking several blocks each day. Dietary soy isoflavone intake was negatively associated with the consumption of butter.

Conclusions: The estimated dietary soy isoflavone intake in Japanese American women living in King County, Washington State was about a quarter to a half that of women living in Japan. Dietary soy isoflavone intake was associated with speaking Japanese and healthy lifestyle and dietary habits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diet Surveys
  • Female
  • Genistein / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Isoflavones / administration & dosage*
  • Japan / ethnology
  • Life Style
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Soybeans* / chemistry
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States


  • Isoflavones
  • daidzein
  • Genistein