Girls' diets may influence risk of breast cancer later in life

March 29, 2006 in Cancer Prevention, Nutrition Topics in the News, Women's Health

Girls' diets may influence risk of breast cancer later in life

According to researchers at Harvard Medical School, the diet of girls aged 3 to 5 years may influence their risk of developing breast cancer during adulthood.

The study involved nearly 600 breast cancer patients and over 1,500 healthy “controls” from the Nurses’ Health Study and Nurses’ Healthy Study II.

Researchers used a 30-item food frequency questionnaire to obtain early (between ages 3 and 5) diet information from the mothers of the nurses.

The findings, which were published in the International Journal of Cancer, found certain foods to be linked to the risk of breast cancer. Women who frequently consumed French fries between the ages of 3 and 5 were at an increased risk of breast cancer, with an increased risk of 27 percent for one additional serving per week. The consumption of whole milk was found to have an opposite effect, with each additional glass of whole milk per day, the risk decreased by 10 percent. No association was found between nutrient levels and the risk of breast cancer.

However, more research is needed to confirm these findings and find out if certain food items were actually a risk factor, or if more broad lifestyle choices were responsible for the risk factor.

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