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Do Hot Dogs Cause Brain Tumors in Children?

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Updated June 08, 2014

No, a child will not be at greater risk of forming brain tumors if he or she eats too many hot dogs. However, moms-to-be may want to cut hot dogs and other processed meats such as bologna, sausage, pepperoni and other packaged luncheon meats out of their diets.

The fear about hot dogs and brain tumors probably came from reports of a research study that found a correlation between the consumption of processed meats by pregnant women and a higher occurrence of brain tumors in their children. 

Later research also found that women who ate diets high in processed meats were also more likely to give birth to babies who weighed less than other babies.

While there might be a correlation between mothers-to-be and childhood brain tumors, that same risk doesn't extend to children who eat hot dogs. 

Hot dogs, franks, wieners (or whatever you wish to call them) don't cause brain tumors, but they're not exactly healthful foods. Like other processed meats, they are high in calories, sodium and saturated fats.

Eating a diet high in processed meats has also been associated with having a higher risk of other types of cancer, such as colorectal cancer, in adults. 

While the occasional hot dog at a baseball game may not ruin your health, frequent consumption of hot dogs and other processed meats shouldn't be part of a healthy diet.

Sources:

Blot WJ, Henderson BE, Boice JD. "Childhood cancer in relation to cured meat intake: review of the epidemiological evidence." Nutr Cancer. 1999;34(1):111-8.

Dietrich M, Block G, Pogoda JM, Buffler P, Hecht S, Preston-Martin S. "A review: dietary and endogenously formed N-nitroso compounds and risk of childhood brain tumors." Cancer Causes Control. 2005 Aug;16(6):619-35.

Knudsen VK, Orozova-Bekkevold IM, Mikkelsen TB, Wolff S, Olsen SF. "Major dietary patterns in pregnancy and fetal growth." Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007 Mar 28.

"Hot Dogs and Food Safety." Meat Preparation. United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service. Updated August 24, 2006.

Newby PK, Muller D, Hallfrisch J, Qiao N, Andres R, Tucker KL. "Dietary patterns and changes in body mass index and waist circumference in adults." Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Jun;77(6):1417-25.

Preston-Martin S, Pogoda JM, Mueller BA, Holly EA, Lijinsky W, Davis RL. "Maternal consumption of cured meats and vitamins in relation to pediatric brain tumors." Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 1996 Aug;5(8):599-605.

Ward MH, Cross AJ, Divan H, Kulldorff M, Nowell-Kadlubar S, Kadlubar FF, Sinha R. "Processed meat intake, CYP2A6 activity and risk of colorectal adenoma." Carcinogenesis. 2007 Jun;28(6):1210-6. Epub 2007 Feb 2.

 

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