Research: Diet as Children Affects Lifelong Cancer

Dr. Fuhrman's book Disease-Proof Your Child contains a huge new idea: that childhood diet plays an important role in many cancers and other chronic diseases that occur decades later.

Since the book came out, there has been even more research to support the theory. Alert DiseaseProof reader Rick Miller sent us an MSNBC article about new evidence that bad adolescent diets can inspire later breast cancer.

The article, by Karen Collins, R.D., focuses on a phytochemical found in soy, called genistein:

The University of Alabama researcher who presented the new studies at the conference said that genistein offered no protection from breast cancer when it was first given to animals in adulthood. But when the animals ate it before puberty, they had less breast cancer development.

The benefits were even greater when they continued to eat it into adulthood. The evidence suggests that the time around puberty offers a chance to imprint cells with a "blueprint" that creates cellular pathways for long-term protection.

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Comments (3) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Louise - November 11, 2005 7:17 AM

Hi! Kudos on DiseaseProof .com! I enjoy checking in for the latest in health news!

The author of the article cited, Karen Collins, makes an interesting point, that "genistein . . . may promote the development of immature breast cells into more mature cells less vulnerable to carcinogens." That parallels a comparison of plasma isoflavones levels between Janpanese vs British populations:

Genistein
Japan UK
W  501.9 W  27.7
M  492.7 M  33.2

Maybe because soy consumption starts in childhood in Asian lands, there is less breast cancer there than in the UK or US

Louise - November 11, 2005 7:20 AM

Attn: Henry Abbott

Here's another fascinating article on MSNBC:

Children who eat fries raise breast cancer risk
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8995031

It notes, "One additional serving of fries per week at ages three to five increased breast cancer risk by 27 percent."

from the Nurse's Health Study:
http://www.channing.harvard.edu/nhs

Some of the first words kids learn in my area are: "Taco Bell," "McDonald's," "Carl's Jr." No wonder french fries, with all their trans fat, find their way into youngsters' diets! Too bad

Marg Pedroza - March 25, 2006 10:17 PM

Dear Dr. Fuhrman, I have become engaged in a discussion with the director of my daughter's school about junk food in the school. She asked me for some articles to read and to perhaps pass along to the parent-body explaining which kinds of foods are healthy and which are not, and why it is so important to feed our children healthy foods. I enthusiastically agreed but am having a hard time finding a really good article. I would like to give everyone a copy of Disease Proof Your Child! Have you written a thorough summary of the main points in your book that I could have permission to distribute at my daughter's school? If not, would you be able and willing do write such an article? Or do you know of other articles that already exist that would be useful and appropriate for introducing parents to the connection between food and health? I would greatly appreciate any help you can give. Thank you. Msrg

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