Identification of major dietary patterns in Korean adults and their association with cancer risk in the Cancer Screening Examination Cohort

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Cancer is the primary cause of disease-related death in Korea. The purposes of this study were to confirm the major dietary patterns and to evaluate whether there were associations between these identified dietary patterns and the risk of cancer based on data from the Cancer Screening Examination Cohort (CSEC) 2004–2008 of the National Cancer Center (NCC) of Korea.


This study included 8 024 subjects who completed a written survey on demographics and lifestyles, as well as a 3-day dietary record. Dietary patterns were identified by factor analysis using the principal component analysis method. The associations between the identified dietary patterns and cancer risk were examined using Cox proportional hazards regression models.


During a median follow-up period of 9.0 years, 425 cancer cases were newly diagnosed. We identified 4 major dietary patterns (‘rice and kimchi’, ‘vegetables and fish’, ‘fruits and dairy’, and ‘meats and sweets’). There was a negative relation between ‘rice and kimchi’ pattern and the risk of non-gastrointestinal cancers only (highest vs. lowest tertile; multivariate-adjusted hazard ratio = 0.60, 95% confidence interval = 0.41, 0.88). The ‘fruits and dairy’ pattern tended to decrease the risk of cancer, and the preventive effect was noted only for gastrointestinal cancer risk. However, there was no association after adjusting for covariates.


The traditional dietary pattern with high consumption of rice, kimchi, soybean paste and vegetables may decrease the cancer risk among Koreans, and strategies based on the dietary pattern may effectively reduce the cancer risk.

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