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Study Shows Teen Girls Can Reduce Cancer Risk By Eating Fruit

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Results from a new study show that teens who consume a higher quantity of fruit during their adolescence may reduce their breast cancer risk. The study took data from 1991 and 1998 food questionnaires that had been completed by around 90,000 nurses (called the Nurses’ Health Study) between the ages of 27 – 44 about what food they ate as young adults, and as adolescents. Health outcomes of the diets and cancer status was also tracked. According to a report in US News, the women who had had three servings of fruit per day showed 25 percent decreased breast cancer risk than the women who had just half a serving of fruit.

The author of the study Maryam Farvid, who is a research associate in the nutrition department at Boston’s Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health said that the study managed to associate higher fruit consumption with reduced breast cancer risk,  but that they ‘could not provide evidence of cause and effect’.

This is the first study that specifically shows that high fruit intake during adolescence may be linked with reduced breast cancer risk. (But) Due to the observational nature of the study, we could not provide evidence of cause and effect.

According to a report in TIME, some fruits like apples, bananas and grapes (that are high in fibre and contain flavonoids)  were even better at protecting against cancer when eaten during adolescence than others. Though fruit juice was found not to be beneficial in fighting cancer, because the fruit is then stripped of its fiber. Farvid went on to say that the results of the study should have sent an important message to schools to include ‘more fruits and vegetables as part of the school meal program’.

This study underscores the importance of what a young girl eats for her future health. This study also has an important message for schools and the need to provide students with the opportunity to consume more fruits and vegetables as part of the school meal program.

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