Womens Health Initiative study of nearly 50,000 postmenopausal women across the United States provides first solid data on health effects of a low-fat diet
Adopting a low-fat diet in later life and following such a regimen for nearly a decade does not appear to have a significant impact on reducing the overall risk of breast cancer, colorectal cancer or heart disease, according to a Womens Health Initiative study that involved nearly 50,000 postmenopausal women across the United States. The results of the federally funded dietary modification study will be published in a series of three papers – two with lead authors at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and all three involving co-authors from the Hutchinson Center – in the Feb. 8 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, or JAMA.
The study – the first attempt to test the health impact of a low-fat diet in a randomized, controlled trial, considered the gold standard of clinical and public-health study design – did, however, uncover some encouraging trends, according to Hutchinson Center biostatistician Ross L. Prentice, Ph.D., lead author of the JAMA paper that describes the impact of a low-fat diet on breast-cancer risk, one of the primary goals of the study.
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