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Fruit and veg 'have limited effect on cancer risk'

7th April 2010

Eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables only has a modest impact on the risk of developing cancer, a new study has claimed.

Since 1990, the World Health Organization has advocated eating five daily servings of fruit and vegetables to stave off cancer and other health problems, but research from a panel of international experts has disputed this claim.

A team led by Dr Paolo Boffetta, of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, examined data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study, which tracked the diets and lifestyles of more than 400,000 Europeans.

The researchers found that more than 30,000 participants developed cancer between 1992 and 2000, with only a 'weak association' noted between a high intake of fruit and vegetables and a lower cancer risk.

'A higher intake of fruits and vegetables was also associated with other lifestyle variables, such as lower intake of alcohol, never smoking, short duration of tobacco smoking and higher level of physical activity, which may have contributed to a lower cancer risk,' the team concluded.

Recently, the World Cancer Research Fund claimed that the 80,000 cases of cancer could be prevented in the UK each year through healthy eating, regular physical activity and weight loss.

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