Dietary intake from birth through adolescence in relation to risk of benign breast disease in young women

Catherine S. Berkey, Rulla M. Tamimi, Walter C. Willett, Bernard Rosner, Martha Hickey, Adetunji T. Toriola, A. Lindsay Frazier, Graham A. Colditz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: Nutritional factors during different periods in life impact breast cancer risk. Because benign breast disease (BBD) is a well-established risk factor for breast cancer, we investigated childhood nutrition from birth through age 14 year and subsequent BBD. Methods: A prospective cohort study of 9031 females, 9–15 year at baseline, completed questionnaires (including heights, weights) annually from 1996 to 2001, in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2014. In 1996, mothers reported infant feeding practices during their daughters first year of life. Beginning in 1996, participants completed annual food frequency questionnaires. In 2005, participants (18 year +) began reporting whether they had ever been diagnosed with biopsy-confirmed BBD (N = 173 cases). Multivariable logistic regression models estimated associations between childhood nutrition and BBD, adjusted for maternal breast disease and childhood body size factors. Results: Although no infant nutrition factors were associated with biopsy-confirmed BBD, certain adolescent dietary factors were. A multivariable model simultaneously included the most important diet and body size factors from different age periods: higher BBD risk was associated with greater age 10 year consumption of animal (non-dairy, energy-adjusted) fat (OR 2.27, p <.02, top vs. bottom quartiles) and with lower 14 year consumption of nuts/peanut butter (OR 0.60, p =.033, top vs. bottom quartiles). Conclusion: Greater intake of animal (non-dairy) fat at 10 year and lower intake of nuts/peanut butter at 14 year were independently associated with higher BBD risk. These dietary factors appeared to operate on BBD risk independent of childhood growth (gestational weight gain, childhood BMI and height, adolescent height growth velocity), young adult height and BMI, and family history.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-525
Number of pages13
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 15 2019


  • Adolescent diet
  • Alcohol
  • Benign breast disease
  • Childhood diet
  • Infant nutrition
  • Pre-malignant


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