High consumption of fatty foods during teenage years increase breast density, which is a risk factor for breast cancer, says a study.
"Overall, our results suggest possible long-term effects of fat intake during adolescence on young adult breast composition," said one of the researchers, Seungyoun Jung from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in the US.
‘Following healthy dietary habits during teenage years can reduce breast density and also breast cancer risk.’
"Appropriate dietary modifications during adolescence may potentially contribute to lowering breast density and consequently breast cancer risk as well as preventing obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease," Jung noted.
For the study, the researchers analyzed data from the Dietary Intervention Study in Children (DISC). DISC was a randomized clinical trial initiated in 1988 enrolling 663 children ages 8 to10 years, including 301 girls, that assessed diet on multiple occasions during adolescence.
A follow-up study, conducted when participants were 25 to 29 years old, measured breast density by magnetic resonance imaging in 177 female participants.
The researchers found that higher adolescent intake of saturated fat and lower adolescent intakes of mono- and polyunsaturated fat were associated with the higher percent dense breast volume (DBV) in early adulthood.
Women in the highest quartile of saturated fat intake had a mean percent dense breast volume of 21.5 percent compared with 16.4 percent for those in the lowest quartile. A similar difference in percent DBV was found for those who ate the lowest amount of monounsaturated fat, compared to those who ate the most.
Examples of foods containing a high proportion of saturated fat include animal fat products such as cream, cheese, butter, other whole milk dairy products and fatty meats.
The study was published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.