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Public Health Nutr. 2012 Apr;15(4):738-48. doi: 10.1017/S136898001100303X. Epub 2011 Nov 29.

The role of anthropometric and nutritional factors on breast cancer risk in African-American women.

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  • 1The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, 195 Little Albany Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA.



While the role of nutrition, physical activity and body size on breast cancer risk has been extensively investigated, most of these studies were conducted in Caucasian populations. However, there are well-known differences in tumour biology and the prevalence of these factors between African-American and Caucasian women. The objective of the present paper was to conduct a review of the role of dietary factors, anthropometry and physical activity on breast cancer risk in African-American women.


Twenty-six research articles that presented risk estimates on these factors in African-American women and five articles involving non-US black women were included in the current review.


Racial disparities in the impact of anthropometric and nutritional factors on breast cancer risk.


African-American and non-US black women.


Based on the few studies that presented findings in African-American women, an inverse association with physical activity was found for pre- and postmenopausal African-American women, while the association for anthropometric and other dietary factors, such as alcohol, was unclear. Studies assessing the effect by molecular subtypes in African-American women were too few and based on sample sizes too small to provide definitive conclusions.


The effect of certain nutrition and lifestyle factors on breast cancer in African-American women is not starkly distinct from those observed in white women. However, there is an enormous need for further research on this minority group to obtain more confirmatory findings.

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