Vegetables, fruit, and colon cancer in the Iowa Women's Health Study

Am J Epidemiol. 1994 Jan 1;139(1):1-15. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a116921.


Previous epidemiologic studies have shown an inverse association between vegetable and fruit consumption and colon cancer risk; few of these studies have been prospective or have focused on women. This report describes results from a prospective cohort study of 41,837 women aged 55-69 years who completed a 127-item food frequency questionnaire in 1986 and were monitored for cancer incidence for 5 years via the State Health Registry of Iowa. After specific exclusion criteria were applied, 212 colon cancer cases and 167,447 person-years were available for analysis. Intakes of 15 vegetable and fruit groups and dietary fiber were the major factors of interest. Consumption of garlic was inversely associated with risk, with an age- and energy-adjusted relative risk of 0.68 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.46-1.02) for the uppermost versus the lowermost consumption levels. Inverse associations were also observed for intakes of all vegetables and dietary fiber; age- and energy-adjusted relative risks for the uppermost versus the lowermost intake quartiles were 0.73 (95% CI 0.47-1.13) and 0.80 (95% CI 0.49-1.31), respectively. Associations for the other vegetable and fruit groups were less remarkable.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Colonic Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / etiology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Fruit*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vegetables*