factor for breast cancer. The study was published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
"Overall, our results suggest possible long-term effects of fat intake during adolescence on young adult breast composition," said one of the researchers, Seungyoun Jung.
"Appropriate dietary modifications during adolescence may potentially contribute to lowering breast density and consequently breast cancer risk as well as preventing obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease," Jung noted.
For the study, the researchers analysed data from the Dietary Intervention Study in Children (DISC). DISC was a randomised clinical trial initiated in 1988 enrolling 663 children ages 8 to10 years, including 301 girls, that assessed diet on multiple occasions during adolescence.
A follow-up study, conducted when participants were 25 to 29 years old, measured breast density by magnetic resonance imaging in 177 female participants.
The researchers found that higher adolescent intake of saturated fat and lower adolescent intakes of mono- and polyunsaturated fat were associated with higher percent dense breast volume (DBV) in early adulthood.
Women in the highest quartile of saturated fat intake had a mean percent dense breast volume of 21.5 percent compared with 16.4 percent for those in the lowest quartile. A similar difference in percent DBV was found for
Examples of foods containing a high proportion of saturated fat include animal fat products such as cream, cheese, butter, other whole milk dairy products and fatty meats.