It has been long debated whether the quantity of fruits and vegetables ingested is associated with cancer risk. A new article brings the results of a multi-national, prospective European study, based on the EPIC cohort, which examined this issue in 143,000 men and 336,000 women who were followed for 8.7 years . Dietary habits were estimated by questionnaires only once, at enrolment to the study. A total of 9600 men and 21,000 women were diagnosed with cancer during the follow-up period. The intake of fruits and vegetables was higher in Southern Europe than in Northern Europe: 231 g/day in Sweden, 511 g/day in Spain. Overall, quintile 5 of vegetable intake (> 307 g/day) was associated with a statistically significant 7% reduced risk for total cancer compared to quintile 1 (< 97 g/day). The corresponding figure for fruits was a 6% reduction in cancer risk in quintile 5 (> 367 g/day) compared to quintile 1 (< 90 g/day). Each increase of 100 g/day of total fruit and vegetable intake led to a 2% decreased risk for cancer. Note that the crude cancer rates differed from country to country, but the risk was comparable in men and women.
Department of Medicine T, Ichilov Hospital, Tel-Aviv, Israel
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