Are there risks to promoting healthy eating and exercise among young girls?
Although age at menarche is an established risk factor for breast cancer, attempts to delay a girl’s menarche are not advisable. The normal establishment of regular menstrual cycles is critical for reproduction. Delaying a girl’s menarche via dieting, extreme weight loss and/or vigorous and stressful exercise may affect her ability to have children later. Also, emphasis on dieting and weight may contribute to eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. Girls who have started to menstruate, and exercise and diet too vigorously can actually cause their periods to stop, and can experience severe bone loss. Therefore, an active lifestyle that allows normal development should be the goal during adolescence. Adolescent life-style factors and the risk of breast cancer: Smoking cigarettes: Few studies have examined smoking during adolescence as a risk factor for breast cancer. However, some researchers think that smoking at a young age may be important because the carcinogens in cigarette s