The dietary patterns of 6663 men of Japanese ancestry, living in Hawaii and participating in the Honolulu Heart and Japan-Hawaii Cancer Studies, were analyzed according to country of birth and boyhood education. Approximately 80% of the men were born and educated in Hawaii (Nisei); the others were either born in Japan (Issei) or traveled to Japan for 5 or more years of boyhood education (Kibei). Twenty-four-hr diet recalls, obtained at the first cycle of examinations (1965 to 1968), revealed that the Nisei consumed significantly greater intakes of total and animal protein, total and saturated fat, and cholesterol than the Issei and Kibei, Values for weight, height, skinfold thickness, and serum cholesterol were in the same direction, and the differences were statistically significant.

Food frequency questionnaires at the 1st the 3rd examinations covered a 6-year interval. At both time periods, the Issei and Kibei ate Japanese foods more frequently and in greater quantities than the Nisei. In general, the Nisei consumed more Western foods. Both food frequency questionnaires included 6 identical items: coffee, milk, green tea, rice, tofu (soybean curd), and tsukudani (presenved seaweed paste). The frequent and infrequent consumers were similarly characterized over the 6-year period.

The finding suggest that the country of birth and education has lasting effects on adult eating patterns. The observed heterogeneity for specific food items and nutrients between the Nisei and Issei-Kibei men augers well for attempts to relate such items to chronic diseases such as cancer.


Presented at the Conference on Nutrition in the Causation of Cancer, May 19 to 22, 1975, Key Biscayne, Fla. Research supported by Contract NO1 CP 33216 from the National Cancer Institute, NIH.

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