Taste Preferences and Body Weight Change in Japanese Adults: The JPHC Study

Int J Obes (Lond). 2009 Oct;33(10):1191-7. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2009.153. Epub 2009 Jul 28.


Objective: Limited data are available with regard to longitudinal changes in body weight by food taste preference. Here, we examined the associations between taste preferences and weight change in adults for a large-scale cohort study in Japan.

Design: Longitudinal analysis of data from a population-based cohort study, the Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective Study (JPHC Study).

Subjects: A total of 29,103 middle-aged men and women, who participated in a JPHC Study and returned questionnaires on lifestyle and diet, including taste preferences, at both baseline and the 10th year of follow-up.

Measurements: We assessed the relations of preferences for rich and heavy taste and a sweet taste to weight changes between the age of 20 years and baseline and those during the 10-year follow-up period.

Results: Preferences for rich and heavy taste and for sweet taste were significantly positively associated with weight increases between the age of 20 years and baseline (P for trend <0.001); the fully adjusted odds ratios (95% confidence interval) comparing the 'like' versus 'dislike' groups with a preference for rich and heavy taste were 1.45 (1.31-1.24) for men and 1.28 (1.16-1.41) for women, whereas that for a sweet taste preference was 1.22 (1.09-1.36) for women. As regards weight change during the 10 years of follow-up, subjects who liked the sweet taste and those who neither liked nor disliked this taste experienced a significantly greater increase than those who disliked it in both men and women. There was no such difference for rich and heavy taste.

Conclusion: These results suggest that food taste preferences may be an important predictor of weight changes in adults. Taste preferences need to be considered when counseling patients to achieve weight control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight / physiology*
  • Choice Behavior / physiology
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Food Preferences / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Taste*