We examined the correlation between the prefectural variation of standardized mortality ratio (SMR) for stomach cancer and the consumption of nutrients and food groups using dietary data available for 27 prefectures in Japan. Because data for specific food groups were not available in some prefectures, the number (n) of prefectures analyzed for correlation ranged from 15-27. A three-fold interprefectural variation in SMR for stomach cancer was observed. There was a significant positive correlation between the consumption of salted/dried fishes and SMR (n=15, r=0.75, p<0.01), and vitamin A intake showed a negative correlation (n = 26, r= –0.61, p<0.01). Salt consumption did not show a material correlation with SMR (n = 26, r=0.26, p= 0.20). In the partial correlation analysis (n=14), fruits and yellow-green vegetables showed the inverse associations (r=-0.43, p = 0.19, r=-0.75, p<0.01, respectively), and pickles and salted/dried fishes showed positive associations (r = 0.53, p=0.09, r=0.67, p = 0.02, respectively) after adjusting for the remaining three variables. The findings suggest that salty foods and vitamin A may be important determinants of the prefectural variation of stomach cancer mortality in Japan.
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