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Originally published May 4 2009

Poor Diet, Low Exercise Leads to Breast Cancer in Later Years

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) A poor diet and a lack of exercise in childhood significantly increase a girl's risk of breast cancer later in life, according to the findings of a study conducted by researchers from the European Cancer Prevention Organization, presented at the conference of the European Society for Medical Oncology and published in the journal Pediatrics.

"Breast cancer seems to originate almost entirely in childhood," the researchers said. "The breast is most vulnerable at the very onset of development. Further research should focus on nutrition in children and breast cancer risk to prevent the disease."

The researchers analyzed the diets and lifestyle habits of 1,146 girls from birth until the age of 13. They found that the three biggest predictors of an early onset of puberty in the girls were a sedentary lifestyle, obesity and a diet high in high-glycemic (simple) carbohydrates.

"We know breast cancer is associated with obesity and a lack of physical activity," said Florian Strasser, scientific chair of the European Society for Medical Oncology. "This shows these factors are related to early puberty, which is also a risk factor."

Childhood exposure to infectious mononucleosis ("mono"), also known as glandular fever, also increased the risk of early puberty. Another risk factor was high levels of exposure to estrogen-mimicking chemicals such as those found in polycarbonate water and baby bottles or plastic toys.

Two hormone-disrupting compounds that have garnered much attention recently are bisphenol A, used to line food and beverage containers and to make plastics hard and transparent, and phthalates, used to make plastics soft and flexible. Because they mimic the effects of estrogen in the body, they can lead to reproductive and other developmental defects.

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer worldwide. In 2005, it caused 502,000 deaths, accounting for 1 percent of all deaths and 7 percent of all cancer deaths.

The breast cancer rate among U.S. women is the highest in the world, at one in eight. Approximately one out of every 35 women in the United States will die from breast cancer.

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