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A comparison of dietary habits among women in Japan and Hawaii

  • Yumie Takata (a1), Gertraud Maskarinec (a1), Adrian Franke (a1), Chisato Nagata (a2) and Hiroyuki Shimizu (a2)...



To compare the dietary habits of Japanese women in Japan with those of Japanese and Caucasian women living in Hawaii.


Data from two previous cross-sectional studies conducted within two years in Hawaii and Gifu, Japan were pooled and analysed. Dietary intakes were assessed with validated food-frequency questionnaires and urine samples were collected for isoflavone measurement.


Participants were recruited through mammography clinics in both locations.


In Hawaii, 164 Caucasian and 146 Japanese women; in Japan, 206 women.


Dietary habits differed considerably by ethnicity and location. In comparison to the Caucasian diet, the diet in Japan was relatively low in fat and high in carbohydrates and protein, whereas the Japanese women in Hawaii reported intermediate intakes. Japanese women in Gifu consumed a diet that was relatively high in fish, soy, eggs and vegetables, and low in fruits, dairy products and meat. In contrast, the Caucasian women consumed the most dairy products and fruits and the Japanese women in Hawaii reported the highest grain and meat intakes.


The diet of Japanese women in Hawaii appeared to be a combination of foods eaten in Japan and the dietary habits of Caucasian women in Hawaii, but eating habits in Japan are also different from traditional nutritional patterns. This study illustrates several problems related to dietary comparisons across populations and provides information for future investigations on chronic disease risk.

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