Soy intake is related to a lower body mass index in adult women

Gertraud Maskarinec, Alison G. Aylward, Eva Erber, Yumie Takata, Laurence N. Kolonel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Experimental and epidemiologic studies suggest that soy may promote weight loss. Aim of the study: The goal of this study was to examine the relation of soy intake with body weight over the lifespan of women with Caucasian, Japanese, and Native Hawaiian ancestry. Methods: We assessed the relation between lifetime soy consumption and body mass index (BMI) among 1,418 women in Hawaii. All subjects reported anthropometric measures, regular diet, and soy intake throughout life. The lifetime soy questionnaire was completed again by a subset of 356 women 5 years after study entry and the κ values indicated moderate agreement. We regressed soy intake on BMI at study entry and at age 21 while controlling for confounding variables, computed least square means, and performed trend tests. Results: Higher soy consumption in adulthood was related to a lower BMI (P = 0.02). This association was only significant for Caucasian women and for postmenopausal subjects. The women in the highest category also experienced a smaller annual weight change since age 21 (by 0.05 kg/year) than the low soy intake group (P = 0.02). We observed no association between early life soy intake and BMI. High vegetable consumption was significantly associated with a higher soy intake among Caucasian women. Conclusions: In this study, women consuming more soy during adulthood had a lower BMI, but the relation was primarily observed for Caucasian and postmenopausal subjects. This indicates that the association may be due to other nutritional factors and behaviors common in women with high soy intake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-144
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2008


  • Body mass index
  • Early life nutrition
  • Ethnicity
  • Obesity
  • Soy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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