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Nutr Cancer. 2004;48(2):142-8.

Quantity and variety of fruit and vegetable consumption and cancer risk.

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Center for Nutrition and Health, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.


The recommendation for fruit and vegetable intake includes eating a certain quantity as well as a variety. The evidence for eating a variety is limited. We examined the association with cancer in a prospective cohort study among 730 Dutch men aged 65-84 yr followed for 10 years, resulting in 138 cancer cases. The quantity of fruits and vegetables was assessed using a dietary history and the variety in intake was based on a food frequency questionnaire. Adherence to the recommended amounts of fruit and vegetables was inversely associated with total cancer risk: The adjusted relative risk (RR) was 0.56 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.31-1.00]. Eating the recommended daily 200 g of vegetables was not related to cancer incidence, whereas eating the recommended 200 g of fruit was associated with a 38% lower risk. Variety in vegetable intake was inversely associated with total cancer and non-lung epithelial cancer: The RRs (95% CI) for the highest and lowest tertiles were 0.64 (0.43-0.95) and 0.51 (0.27-0.97), respectively. Only after excluding the first two years of follow-up, variety in fruit intake was associated with reduced cancer risk. In conclusion, adherence to the guidelines for fruit and vegetable intake was associated with lower cancer risk. Besides quantity, variety in intake is also of importance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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