What people eat and how fast they grow are both significant causes of cancer, but many Americans still incorrectly believe that factors such as pesticides on food are bigger causes, experts reported on Wednesday.
Breastfeeding reduces the risk of cancer for mother and child, and tall people have a higher risk of cancer than shorter people, the report found.
(Dr. Julie Silver explains this new report.)
"We need to think about cancer as the product of many long-term influences, not as something that 'just happens,'" Dr. Walter Willett, a nutrition expert at the Harvard School of Public Health in Massachusetts, told a news conference.
The report, released jointly by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research, is the result of five years of study by nine teams of scientists.
They reviewed 7,000 studies on diet, exercise, weight and cancer.
Most of what they recommended is in line with what health experts, including governments and the World Health Organization, have long been advising -- that diets based on fruits, vegetables and whole grains and that go easy on red meats, dairy products and fats protect against heart disease, diabetes and cancer. (Read 10 ways to avoid cancer.)
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