Do vegetables and fruits reduce the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease? A case-control study in Japan

Prev Med. Aug-Sep 2009;49(2-3):184-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2009.06.010. Epub 2009 Jun 23.


Objective: To investigate the relationship between vegetable and fruit consumption and the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a case-control study was conducted in central Japan in 2006.

Methods: A total of 278 referred patients with COPD diagnosed within the past four years and 340 community-based controls undertook spirometric measurements of respiratory function. A structured questionnaire was administered face-to-face to obtain information on demographics, lifestyle and habitual food consumption.

Results: The mean vegetable and fruit intakes of cases (155.62 (SD 88.84) and 248.32 (SD 188.17) g/day) were significantly lower (p<0.01) than controls (199.14 (SD 121.41) and 304.09 (SD 253.72) g/day). A substantial reduction in COPD risk was found by increasing daily total vegetable intake, p for trend=0.037. The prevalence of breathlessness also decreased with vegetable consumption, the adjusted odds ratio being 0.49 (95% CI 0.27-0.88) for the highest versus lowest quartile of intake. However, the effects of fruit consumption were not significant. Among the nutrients contained in vegetables and fruits, vitamin A was particularly significant (p=0.008) with an estimated 52% reduction in COPD risk at the highest level of intake.

Conclusion: The study provided evidence of an inverse association between vegetable consumption and the risk of COPD for Japanese adults.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Fruit*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / epidemiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / prevention & control
  • Risk Factors
  • Spirometry
  • Vegetables*