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Background and aims: Breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer and leader in cancer-related deaths among women with a variety of established risk factors.

Methods Data from a nationally representative sample of 5,574 women who participated in the 2015–2018 NHANES was used to evaluate the correlation of childhood and adolescent dairy milk consumption and age of menarche. Reproductive history was asked of women > 12y. Data regarding dairy consumption between the ages of 5–12 was available for women > 20y. Survey regression models were used to calculate adjusted age of menarche for categories of dairy consumption after adjusting for relevant confounders.

Results Women who reported never or rarely consuming dairy milk were significantly older at age of menarche compared to those who reported more frequent milk consumption. Age of menarche is affected by consumption of dairy milk in childhood even when controlling for factors which have been consider as possible affecting agents.

Conclusions With the known link between the age of menarche and increased risk in breast cancer, guidance regarding childhood milk consumption should be developed.


This is a preprint; it has not been peer reviewed by a journal, April 4, 2024

At the time article was written, Sara Szollosy was a student in the Master of Public Health program



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