To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Diet, obesity and cancer – is there a link?

Becky Chandler (Nutritionist, World Cancer Research Fund (WCRFUK), London, UK)

Nutrition & Food Science

ISSN: 0034-6659

Article publication date: 1 March 2006




This paper provides an overview on the links among diet, obesity and cancer prevention. It also highlights a study which confirms that following specific diet and health recommendations can help prevent cancer.


Literature searches were conducted to find the most up‐to‐date and relevant literature on diet, obesity and cancer to be included in this paper.


The World Cancer Report predicts that worldwide new cases of cancer will increase by 50 per cent by 2020 and will present a huge challenge for health and cancer support services. However, it is estimated that eating healthily, staying physically active and maintaining a healthy body weight could reduce cancer risk by 30–40 per cent. Evidence suggests that a plant‐based diet including fibre rich foods and a wide range of vitamins and minerals may offer cancer protection, while obesity and low levels of physical activity may increase cancer risk. In 1997 World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and the American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR) produced a pioneering international report: Food Nutrition and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective. The report drew attention to several links between diet and cancer prevention, and made diet and health recommendations to guide health policy and help reduce cancer risk. Adhering to these guidelines has now been shown to predict risk of and mortality from cancer. WCRF/AICR are compiling a second report which will systematically review published research on food, nutrition (including obesity), physical activity and cancer prevention. Also included will be the new and emerging area of nutrition and lifestyle factors for cancer survivors.


Information is presented to give non‐experts a general, up‐to‐date overview on the links between diet, obesity and cancer prevention.



Chandler, B. (2006), "Diet, obesity and cancer – is there a link?", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. 36 No. 2, pp. 111-117.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles