Dietary fiber, lung function, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in the atherosclerosis risk in communities study

Am J Epidemiol. 2008 Mar 1;167(5):570-8. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwm343. Epub 2007 Dec 5.


Recent data suggest beneficial effects of fiber intake on chronic respiratory symptoms in adults that are independent of antioxidant vitamin intake, but little is known about fiber consumption in relation to lung function and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The authors investigated the association of fiber intake with lung function and COPD in 11,897 US men and women from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study (1987-1989). After control for potential confounders, positive associations were found between lung function and fiber intake from all sources as well as from cereal or fruit alone. Compared with those in the lowest quintile, participants in the highest quintile of total fiber intake had a 60.2-ml higher forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV(1)) (p for trend < 0.001), 55.2-ml higher forced vital capacity (FVC) (p = 0.001), 0.4% higher FEV(1)/FVC ratio (p = 0.040), 1.8% higher percent predicted FEV(1) (p < 0.001), and 1.4% higher percent predicted FVC (p = 0.001). Adjusted odds ratios of COPD for the highest versus lowest quintiles of intake were 0.85 (p = 0.044) for total fiber, 0.83 (p = 0.021) for cereal fiber, and 0.72 (p = 0.005) for fruit fiber. This study provides the first known evidence that dietary fiber is independently associated with better lung function and reduced prevalence of COPD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anthropometry
  • Atherosclerosis*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Phenotype
  • Prevalence
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / epidemiology*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / prevention & control
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Risk Assessment*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vital Capacity