Prospective study of relative weight, height, and risk of breast cancer

JAMA. 1989 Nov 24;262(20):2853-8.


We examined relative weight and height in relation to subsequent breast cancer risk among 115,534 women 30 to 55 years of age and free from cancer in 1976. By 1984, six hundred fifty-eight premenopausal and 420 postmenopausal breast cancers were documented during 734,716 person-years. Among premenopausal women, risk of breast cancer decreased significantly with increasing relative weight (relative risk for the highest category was 0.6). A similar inverse association was seen for recalled relative weight at 18 years of age. Postmenopausal breast cancer was not associated with relative weight, either recent or at age 18. Height was not associated with breast cancer risk among premenopausal women and only weakly related among postmenopausal women. These data suggest that obesity among premenopausal and early postmenopausal women does not increase breast cancer risk substantially.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Height*
  • Body Weight*
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Menopause
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors