Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Public Health Rep. 2009 Jul-Aug;124(4):503-14.

Maternal diet and risk of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Author information

  • 1Kaiser Permanente, Division of Research, Oakland, CA 94612, USA.



Intrauterine environmental factors, including maternal diet, may play an etiologic role in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a common childhood cancer. Expanding on previous findings from phase 1 of the Northern California Childhood Leukemia Study (NCCLS), a population-based case-control study, we sought to further elucidate and replicate the relationships between maternal diet and ALL risk.


We matched 282 case-control sets of children (205 pairs and 77 triplets) from phases 1 and 2 of the NCCLS on sex, date of birth, mother's race, Hispanic racial/ethnic status, and county of residence at birth. We used an interviewer-administered food frequency questionnaire to obtain information on maternal dietary intake in the 12 months prior to pregnancy.


Risk of ALL was inversely associated with maternal consumption of vegetable (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.65, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.50, 0.84); protein sources (AOR = 0.55, 95% CI 0.32, 0.96); fruit (AOR = 0.81, 95% CI 0.65, 1.00); and legume food groups (AOR = 0.75, 95% CI 0.59, 0.95). The risk reduction was strongest for consumption of the protein sources and vegetable food groups, independent of the child's diet up to age 2 years, and consistent across phases 1 and 2 of data collection for vegetable consumption.


These data suggest that it may be prudent for women to consume a diet rich in vegetables and adequate in protein prior to and during pregnancy as a possible means of reducing childhood ALL risk in their offspring.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk