Current problems of food intake in young women in Japan: Their influence on female reproductive function
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- Fujiwara, T. & Nakata, R. Reprod Med Biol (2004) 3: 107. doi:10.1111/j.1447-0578.2004.00063.x
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Accumulating evidence suggests that food customs are associated with quality of life in women of the reproductive age. In Japan, dietary limitation for cosmetic purposes, skipping food intake, intake of processed foods and the shift from Japanese to Westernized style food have increased among young women. These changes in food habits can cause inadequate intake of calories, micronutrients, unsaturated fat, phytestrogens and fiber as well as increasing environmental toxins. Furthermore, these food habits increase risk as a result of intake of food additives, anti-oxidants, processing agents and sweeteners, which have been demonstrated to be harmful to human health. These factors are speculated to not only influence the present lifestyle, but also to induce gynecologic disorders such as dysmenorrhea and irregular menstruation. The adverse effects of these dietary habits on pregnancy outcome and carcinogenesis of breast and ovarian cancers have also been demonstrated. In addition, latent development of organic diseases such as endometriosis, which are accompanied by dysmenorrhea, is a concern under the current nutritional environment in young women. Thus, it is an urgent issue to evaluate the present situation of eating habits in young Japanese women and estimate the influence of these habits on the quality of life including reproductive functions.