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Fatty Foods May Put More Than Women's Waistlines at Risk

Several studies have shown that women who consume fatty foods may increase their risk of developing breast cancer, although most of these studies involved postmenopausal women. Now (perhaps for the first time), a study appears to correlate diet with breast cancer risk in younger women who have not yet reached menopause - and perhaps more significantly, it suggests that eating specific types of fatty foods may increase your risk of developing this frightening disease.

The results of an eight-year study of more than 90,000 premenopausal women were reported recently in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI). Participants in the Nurses' Health Study II were administered two health questionnaires over a five-year period that asked about how often they ate fatty foods; 714 developed breast cancer over eight years. The study's lead author, Dr. Eunyoung Cho, of Boston's Harvard Medical School, noted the majority of the subjects were premenopausal at the time of diagnosis.

Even more intriguing was the observation that the quality, rather than the quantity of foods consumed seemed to account for the increased risk. Consumption of animal fats (e.g., red meat and/or high-fat dairy products) appeared to increase the risk for developing breast cancer, whereas consumption of vegetable fats did not.

Although animal fats are thought to have an effect on hormones that can promote breast cancer, there is speculation that a chemical unique to animal fats is responsible for the increase, according to the researchers. Ask your chiropractor about the essentials of a sensible diet and exercise program that will keep you healthy, whatever your age. To learn more about women's health, go to


Cho E, Spiegelman D, Hunter DJ, Chen WY, et al. Premenopausal fat intake and risk of breast cancer. Journal of the National Cancer Institute July 2003: Volume 95, Number 14, pp.1079-1085.


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