Diet during pregnancy linked with leukemia in child

September 29, 2004 in Cancer Prevention, Nutrition Topics in the News, Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Diet during pregnancy linked with leukemia in child

Women who eat a diet rich in vegetables and protein during pregnancy may lower the risk of leukemia in their child, new research findings suggest.

The genetic event that initiates leukemia development may occur in the womb, say researchers from the University of California, Berkeley. That suggests that the maternal diet could be implicated in the development of the disease.

The researchers evaluated the diets of women 12 months before they became pregnant, assuming that their diet during this period reflected their diet during pregnancy. Included in the study were 138 babies with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) born in northern California between 1995 and 1999, and 138 infants without ALL that were matched by gender, date of birth, mother's race, Hispanic ethnicity and county of residence.

Vegetable, fruit and protein consumption were inversely proportional to the child's risk. Specifically, carrots, string beans, peas, cantaloupe, beans and beef were foods associated with reduced risk. The specific nutrients included carotenoids and alpha and beta-carotene.

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