Breastfeeding Grades Improving: Helping Health and Cancer Risk

bigstock-Mother-breastfeeding-the-littl-18348869More than three out of four babies born in the U.S. in 2010 breastfed for any length of time, according to the 2013 Breastfeeding Report Card released yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC says America’s breastfeeding grades are improving with the highest rates since they began measuring in 2001.

And that’s good news because breastfeeding offers many health benefits for babies and moms, including decreased risk for moms for both pre- and post-menopausal breast cancer, and lower risk for obesity for baby. One of AICR’s recommendations for cancer prevention is that mothers breastfeed exclusively for up to 6 months.

From my work in breastfeeding education and promotion even just 15 years ago, I know the struggles breastfeeding advocates face in encouraging moms and dads to try breastfeeding and in making hospitals and other institutions supportive of breastfeeding. So I am pleased to see more families choose to try for at least some length of time. Continue reading


Study: Following AICR Recommendations Cuts Breast Cancer Risk

Post-menopausal women who follow at least five of AICR’s recommendations for cancer prevention may cut their risk of developing breast cancer in half compared to those who meet none, suggests a new study that adds to previoiStock_000016308603_ExtraSmallus research showing how each recommendation met decreases a women’s risk.

The three recommendations that most helped women reduce their risk of breast cancer in this study related to eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains; being a healthy weight; and drinking one or fewer glasses of wine a day.

The study was published early in the online edition of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. It was funded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements.

For the study, researchers pulled data from approximately 31,000 participants of the VITamins And Lifestyle (VITAL) study. The women were ages 50 to 76 at the start and had no history of breast cancer. When the study began, the women filled out questionnaires on their eating habits, weight, activity, medicines they take and other factors that may play a role in breast cancer risk. Continue reading


Study: How Exercise May Decrease Breast Cancer Risk

For postmenopausal breast cancer, there’s a strong body of evidence that shows exercising reduces the risk. But cancer can take years to develop. A new study that may help explain the link now suggests that when young women jog and are aerobically activecanstockphoto13529535 it causes changes in estrogen metabolism, which then plays a role in reducing later breast cancer risk.

The study, published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, is one of only a few clinical trials to focus on exercise and estrogen metabolism among younger women.

Study researchers wanted to focus on estrogen metabolism because the majority of breast cancers are related to the hormone estrogen. Research suggests that a higher lifetime exposure to estrogen increases a woman’s risk for breast cancer. Yet there are many forms of estrogen and they appear to play a different role in risk.

Lab studies have suggested that two of the forms, estradiol and estrone, play a role in cancer development. These forms of estrogen break down or metabolize into compounds and it’s the ratio of these metabolites that studies have suggested may influence breast cancer risk.

For this study, researchers randomly divided almost 400 sedentary young women into two groups: about half of the women were asked to exercise regularly and the others continued with their inactive lifestyle. All the women were premenopausal and the groups included women who were roughly the same age and weight. Continue reading