2007 Volume 53 Issue 3 Pages 232-238
Although several nutrients and foods have been suggested to be preventive for constipation, all previous studies have examined a single nutrient or food in each analysis. In contrast, analysis of dietary patterns may provide new insights into the influence of diet on functional constipation. We conducted a cross-sectional examination of the association between dietary pattern and functional constipation in 3,770 Japanese female dietetic course students aged 18-20 y from 53 institutions in Japan. Diet was assessed with a validated self-administered diet history questionnaire with 148 food items, from which 30 food groups were created and entered into a factor analysis. Functional constipation was defined using the Rome I criteria, which has previously been used in several epidemiologic studies on constipation. The prevalence of functional constipation was 26.0% (n=979). Four dietary patterns were identified: 1) “Healthy,” 2) “Japanese traditional,” 3) “Western,” and 4) “Coffee and dairy products.” After adjustment for several confounding factors, the “Japanese traditional” pattern, characterized by a high intake of rice, miso soup, and soy products and a low intake of bread and confectionaries, was associated with a significantly lower prevalence of functional constipation. In comparison with the lowest quintile, the multivariate adjusted odds ratio (95% confidence interval) was 0.52 (0.41-0.66) in the highest quintile (p for trend <0.0001). Other dietary patterns were not associated with functional constipation. The Japanese traditional dietary pattern, characterized by a high intake of rice and a low intake of bread and confectionaries, may be beneficial in preventing functional constipation in young Japanese women.