Am J Clin Nutr 2011 Dec;94(6):1620-31. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.016600.Epub 2011 Nov 9.

Intake of fruit, vegetables, and carotenoids in relation to risk of uterine leiomyomata

Lauren A Wise 1Rose G RadinJulie R PalmerShiriki K KumanyikaDeborah A BoggsLynn Rosenberg


Background: US black women have higher rates of uterine leiomyomata (UL) and lower intakes of fruit and vegetables than do white women. Whether fruit and vegetable intake is associated with UL in black women has not been studied.

Objective: We assessed the association of dietary intake of fruit, vegetables, carotenoids, folate, fiber, and vitamins A, C, and E with UL in the Black Women’s Health Study.

Design: In this prospective cohort study, we followed 22,583 premenopausal women for incident UL (1997-2009). Diet was estimated by using food-frequency questionnaires in 1995 and 2001. Cox regression was used to derive incidence rate ratios (IRRs) and 95% CIs for the association between each dietary variable (in quintiles) and UL.

Results: There were 6627 incident cases of UL diagnosed by ultrasonography (n = 4346) or surgery (n = 2281). Fruit and vegetable intake was inversely associated with UL (≥4 compared with <1 serving/d; IRR: 0.90; 95% CI: 0.82, 0.98; P-trend = 0.03). The association was stronger for fruit (≥2 servings/d compared with <2 servings/wk; IRR: 0.89; 95% CI: 0.81, 0.98; P-trend = 0.07) than for vegetables (≥2 servings/d compared with <4 servings/wk: IRR: 0.97; 95% CI: 0.89, 1.05; P-trend = 0.51). Citrus fruit intake was inversely associated with UL (≥3 servings/wk compared with <1 serving/mo: IRR: 0.92; 95% CI: 0.86, 1.00; P-trend = 0.01). The inverse association for dietary vitamin A (upper compared with lower quintiles: IRR: 0.89; 95% CI: 0.83, 0.97; P-trend = 0.01) appeared to be driven by preformed vitamin A (animal sources), not provitamin A (fruit and vegetable sources). UL was not materially associated with dietary intake of vitamins C and E, folate, fiber, or any of the carotenoids, including lycopene.

Conclusion: These data suggest a reduced risk of UL among women with a greater dietary intake of fruit and preformed vitamin A.