Research: HERTOG and colleagues, De

Listed in Issue 20


HERTOG and colleagues, Department of Chronic Diseases and Environmental Epidemiology, National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, the Netherlands. studied whether the consumption of fruit and vegetables diminished cancer mortality in 2112 Welsh men aged 45-69 years (The Caerphilly Study).



The study was followed-up for 13.8 years; at baseline, 197983, the men completed a 56-item food frequency questionnaire from which fruit and vegetable consumption was calculated. Fruit, vegetables, vitamin C, beta-carotene, dietary fibre were independent variables.


At baseline, mean vegetable and fruit consumption was 118 g/day and 83 g/day respectively. During the follow-up, 114 men died from cancer, with 51 men dying from respiratory tract cancer and 45 men dying from digestive tract cancer. Consumption of fruit and intake of dietary fibre were inversely related to respiratory tract cancer. However, following adjustment for potential confounders including age, smoking and social class, the association with fruit consumption was nonsignificant. Vegetable and fruit consumption was, independently from other risk factors, inversely related to mortality from digestive tract cancer, mainly due to an inverse association with fruit consumption (RR for the highest versus the lowest quartile = 0.3). Vitamin C, beta-carotene and dietary fibre were not significantly associated with digestive tract cancers. Vegetable and fruit consumption were inversely related to all-cause cancer mortality; the strongest association was for fruit consumption (RR for the highest versus lowest quartile = 0.5).


Consumption of vegetables and particularly fruit considerably diminishes the risk of dying from cancer in middle-aged men.


Hertog MG et al. Fruit and vegetable consumption and cancer mortality in the Caerphilly Study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 5(9): 6737. Sep 1996.

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