Journal List > J Nutr Health > v.51(5) > 1106751

J Nutr Health. 2018 Oct;51(5):423-432. Korean.
Published online October 31, 2018.
© 2018 The Korean Nutrition Society
Intake of fruits and vegetables may modify the risk of cataract in Korean males: data from Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2012
Eunkyung Lee,1,* Jeong-Hwa Choi,2,* and Young-Ran Heo1
1Department of Food and Nutrition, Research Institute for Human Ecology, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 61186, Korea.
2Department of Food and Nutrition, Keimyung University, Daegu 42601, Korea.

To whom correspondence should be addressed. tel: +82-62-530-1338, Email:

*These authors contributed equally to this article.

Received August 08, 2018; Revised August 23, 2018; Accepted September 26, 2018.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



Cataract is a major cause of a loss of eye sight, and is a critical health issue in an aging society. The oxidative stresses to the lens due to various exterior/interior stimuli leads to degenerative changes of the visual system, resulting in cataract. Therefore, reducing the level of oxidative damage is critical in the prevention of the disease. This study examined the association between the risk of cataract and intake of fruits and vegetables, the major dietary source of antioxidants.


Using the data of Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2012, the intake of fruits and vegetables of 1,332 males (222 cases) and 2,012 females (377 cases) were analyzed, taking into account the cataract phenotype. Their dietary intake was categorized in 6 groups: TV (total vegetables), F (fruits), TVF (TV+F), SV (salted vegetables), NSV (Non-SV), and NSVF (NSV+F). The level of intakes were evaluated referring to the recommendation level of various dietary guidelines.


The presence of cataract was associated with some type of fruit and vegetable intake. In males, the controls had more TVF (p < 0.001), TV (p = 0.001), SV (p = 0.012), NSV (p = 0.007), and NSVF (p < 0.001) intake than the cases, and the lower intake of TVF (< 500g), TV (300g), NSV (< 100g), and NSVF (< 400g) increased the risk of cataract by up to 1.7 fold [95% confidence interval: 1.06–2.71]. In females, the controls also had a higher intake of TVF (p < 0.001), TV (p = 0.042), and NSVF (p < 0.001), but the intake of such fruits and vegetables did not predict the meaningful risk of cataract. The intake of SV and F was not associated with the cataract phenotype in either males or females.


The intake of fruits and vegetables can modify the risk of cataract in Korean males and a sufficient intake of those could be effective in the prevention of cataract.

Keywords: fruit; vegetable; cataract; KNHANES; Koreans


Fig. 1
Simplified flow chart of study subject selection
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Fig. 2
Classification of intake for vegetables and fruits in present study
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Table 1
General characteristics of study population
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Table 2
Daily mean intake of fruits and vegetables taking account of cataract phenotype
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Table 3
Distribution of subjects taking account of fruits and vegetables intake levels and cataract phenotype
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Table 4
The association between fruits and vegetables intake and risk for cataract
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