Intended for healthcare professionals


Study finds that anticancer effect of “5 a day” is less than expected

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 08 April 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c1944
  1. Anna Sayburn
  1. 1London

    People who eat more fruit and vegetables than average may have a slightly reduced risk of getting cancer, a big study concludes, but the benefit is much smaller than previous studies suggested.

    The European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), a 9 year prospective study of nearly 500 000 European men and women, has concluded that the protective effect of eating fruit and vegetables is “very small” (J Natl Cancer Institute 2010; doi:10.1093/jnci/djq072).

    The international study recruited people aged 25 to 70 from 10 Western European countries who filled in detailed questionnaires about their diet and lifestyle. Researchers then used their medical records to find out whether they were diagnosed with cancer during the next 9 years.

    Overall, there were 7.9 cancers annually per 1000 men, and 7.1 cancers …

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