According to a new study, girls who eat the most meat products during childhood may have an earlier occurrence of puberty, increasing their risks of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Researchers followed 3,298 girls in Bristol, England, and gathered their dietary intakes when they were 3, 7, and 10 years old. Forty-nine percent of girls who ate more than 12 portions of meat per week started their periods by age 12, compared with 35 percent of girls who ate fewer than four portions of meat per week.
Another recent study compared food consumption habits in the United States in 1909 and 2007 and showed that meat intake rose from 123 pounds to more than 200 pounds per person per year while cheese intake increased nine fold.
Rogers IS, Northstone K, Dunger DB, Coooper AR, Ness AR, Emmett PM. Diet throughout childhood and age at menarche in a contemporary cohort of British girls. Public Health Nutr. Published ahead of print June 8, 2010.
Barnard ND. Trends in food availability, 1909-2007. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;91(suppl):1S-7S.
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