High Fiber Diet In Early Life May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Maryam S. Farvid, PhD Takemi Fellow Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Dr. Maryam Farvid

Dr. Maryam S. Farvid, PhD
Takemi Fellow
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Farvid: Previous studies of fiber intake and breast cancer have almost all been non-significant, but none of them examined diet during adolescence or early adulthood, a period when breast cancer risk factors appear to be particularly important. Current study supports protective role of dietary fiber intake on breast cancer. The women who reported the highest amount of fiber consumed during high school, about 28 grams daily, had a 16% lower risk of overall breast cancer compared with those who said they consumed an about 15 grams a day. Also highest verses lowest intake of fiber during early adulthood was associated with a 19% lower risk of overall breast cancer. The associations were more apparent for premenopausal breast cancer than postmenopausal breast cancer. Each 10 grams increase in adolescent fiber intake may lead to a 20% lower risk of premenopausal breast cancer, as was a 15% for overall breast cancer.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Farvid: Diet high in fiber in early life may play an important role in prevention of breast cancer before menopause. Encouraging teenagers to adopt healthy eating habits, including an emphasis on a high-fiber diet, may be a good investment for a healthy life.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Farvid: This is the first prospective study that shows the inverse association between diet-high in fiber during adolescence and early adulthood and risk of breast cancer in later life. Further study of the relation between early life diet and risk of breast cancer is needed.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Dr. Farvid: The results of this study emphasize the role of early life high-fiber diet on prevention of breast cancer in later life. Women are doing themselves a favor in terms of breast cancer prevention if they increase amount of dietary fiber intake earlier in life rather than later. Pediatricians and dietitians could encourage teens to make sure they eat plenty of foods rich in fiber such as fruits, vegetable and whole grains at a young age.

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Maryam S. Farvid, A. Heather Eliassen, Eunyoung Cho, Xiaomei Liao, Wendy Y. Chen, and Walter C. Willett. Dietary Fiber Intake in Young Adults and Breast Cancer Risk. Pediatrics, 137(3):e20151226 DOI:10.1542/peds.2015-1226


Dr. Maryam S. Farvid, PhD (2016). High Fiber Diet In Early Life May Reduce Breast Cancer Risk 

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