Poor Teen Diet Now Raises Cancer Risk Later
Just in time for March, National Nutrition Month, recent research shows that women who ate poorly as teenagers were more likely to develop pre-menopausal breast cancer. The study, which was published March 1, 2017 in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, found that women who ate the most inflammatory diet – heavy in red meat, sodas, sweet foods and white flour – were 35% more likely to develop breast cancer in their 20s, 30s or 40s compared to women who ate healthier options such as salads and whole grains.
“What you eat early in life could have repercussions decades later,” said Dr. Karin Michels of the University of California Los Angeles, who helped lead the study. “We should advise our teenagers to eat healthy because breast cancer does seem to have a much earlier origin than we have appreciated in the past. Cancer in general takes years, potentially even decades, to develop.”
Many studies have linked diet to the risk of various cancers, and another study published Wednesday found obesity raises the risk of 11 cancers, including breast cancer. Breast cancer is the No. 2 cancer killer of U.S. women, after lung cancer. Every year, it’s diagnosed in 200,000 women and a few men, and kills around 40,000.
Doctors say there are many benefits to eating less refined flour, sugar and red meat and eating more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. This study shows that doing so early in life can only help.
To follow up on this news, next week’s blog will examine how you can best help an overweight teen. If you would like more information on how to establish healthy eating habits in teens, please read our previous blog on this topic.