- A good diet is vitally important for
- A child's diet may determine whether
she develops breast cancer in later life, according to an expert from the
World Health Organisation.
- The disease - the number one killer among
women aged 35-54 years - could be triggered early in life by an unhealthy
diet of fast food, Professor Paul Kleihues has warned.
- Professor Kleihues said parents should
avoid high fat, low fibre diets full of processed food, dairy products
- He warned: "Thirty per cent of tumours
in breast, prostate and colon cancer are associated with nutrition.
- "There is increasing evidence linking
breast cancer to dietary habits in the first ten years."
- The excess fat carried by overweight
girls may be the key to developing breast cancer.
- When they reach puberty, the female oestrogen
hormones, which help trigger most breast cancers, are stored in the fat
instead of being used or discarded.
- Professor Kleihues, director of the WHO
International Agency for Research on Cancer, said children in western countries
were putting themselves at risk by eating too much.
- He said: "The problem is that we
eat too much and the food is too rich in fat. A little change in diet is
- He said 35-45% of calories consumed are
now from fat. To cut the risk of some cancers this should be reduced by
at least ten per cent.
- Professor Gordon McVie, director of the
Cancer Research Campaign, said the sooner children were encouraged to eat
healthily the better.
- He said: "There is a lot of circumstantial
evidence to support this view. In fact any change in diet right through
through puberty will still have an effect.
- "There is no doubt that puberty
is a critical time in breast development, a lot of things can go wrong
in breast growth patterns at that time which can cause problems in later
- Professor McVie said the impact of a
healthy diet had been illustrated by the relative lack of breast cancer
among women who were young girls during the second world war.
- "They had low fat, low calorie diets,
and added vitamins from the cod liver oil and orange juice," he said.