Dietary Fat and Breast Cancer

Walter Willett

in Nutritional Epidemiology

Third edition

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199754038
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979448 | DOI:

Series: Monographs in Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Dietary Fat and Breast Cancer

Show Summary Details


This chapter reviews studies on the relationship of dietary fat intake and the incidence of breast cancer. Enormous resources have been invested in the hypothesis that reduction in the percentage of energy from total fat during midlife and later will decrease in the incidence of breast cancer, but the results of many large cohort studies and two large randomized trials have provided little support for this hypothesis. Although the null hypothesis cannot be proven, available evidence suggests that reductions in fat during adulthood to even as low as 20% of energy will have minimal impact on risk of breast cancer in Western cultures. In contrast to dietary fat, the evidence that weight gain during adult life will increase the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer is strong and consistent. Because overweight and adiposity have many other adverse health effects, avoidance of weight gain during adulthood must be a top public health priority.

Keywords: fat intake; breast cancer risk; epidemiologic studies

Chapter.  18725 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Statistics and Methodology

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