Why you should worry about grandma's eating habits
A granddaughter's risk of breast cancer can be linked all the way back to her grandmother's prenatal diet.
Wed, Apr 21, 2010 at 10:10 AM
It turns out that our dietary choices while pregnant may affect not only our babies, but their babies as well. According to an article in eScienceNews.com, researchers at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, D.C., have studied pregnant rats, linking a high-fat diet to an increased risk of breast cancer in their children and their children's offspring, too.
A high-fat diet doesn't necessarily mean one that includes more calories. According to the story, the control population and the rats in question ate the same number of calories, but the studied rats had a diet that was 43 percent fat. In the study, grandchildren of the fat eaters had an 80 percent chance of contracting the cancer while the general population of rats had only a 50 percent chance. The rats being studied passed the risk on through all offspring, male or female, to female grandchildren.
The article mentions that scientists question why the risk is passed on through two generations, and discuss "terminal end buds" in breast tissue that can be passed on. Researchers theorize that breast cancer begins in the bud tissue. Further research is being conducted on the effects of estrogen as well, but findings suggest, "pregnant mothers need to eat a well-balanced diet because they may be affecting the future health of their daughters and granddaughters."