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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2011 May;20(5):912-22. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-10-1036. Epub 2011 Feb 18.

Healthy lifestyle on the risk of breast cancer.

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Centro de Investigación en Salud Poblacional, Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico.



Many studies have analyzed the effect of behavioral risk factors such as common lifestyle patterns on the risk of disease. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of a healthy lifestyle index on the risk of breast cancer.


A population-based case-control study was conducted in Mexico from 2004 to 2007. One thousand incident cases and 1,074 controls, matched to cases by 5-year age category, region, and health institution, participated in the study. A healthy lifestyle index was developed by means of principal components by using dietary pattern, physical activity, alcohol consumption, and tobacco smoking. A conditional logistic regression model was used to assess this association.


The healthy lifestyle index was defined as the combined effect of moderate and/or vigorous-intensity physical activity, low consumption of fat, processed foods, refined cereals, complex sugars, and the avoidance of tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption. Results showed a protective effect on both pre- (OR = 0.50, 95% CI: 0.29-0.84) and postmenopausal women (OR = O.20, 95% CI: 0.11-0.37) when highest versus lowest index quintiles were compared.


Healthy lifestyle was associated with a reduction in the odds of having breast cancer. Primary prevention of this disease should be promoted in an integrated manner. Effective strategies need to be identified to engage women in healthy lifestyles.


This study is the first to assess a healthy lifestyle index in relation to the risk of breast cancer.

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