1800 Australian cancers caused by lack of fruit and veggies

Research has revealed, for the first time, how many cancers in Australia are caused by an insufficient fruit and vegetable intake.

A study[1] led by researchers at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute revealed that out of all cancers, 1.7 per cent are directly attributable to inadequate consumption of fruit and non-starchy vegetables – or 1800 cases of cancer in Australia per year.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said the findings were of great concern, particularly as Queenslanders fail to include enough fruit and vegetables in their diets.[2]

“We have known for a while the link between poor health and poor nutrition, and now we are able to determine exactly how many cancers are caused by an inadequate amount of fruit and veggies,” Ms McMillan said.

“The recommend daily intake is two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables, and currently only 57 per cent of adults in Queensland are eating enough fruit.

“Only seven per cent are meeting the recommend daily intake of vegetables, increasing their risk of certain cancers.

“While 70 per cent of children are eating enough fruit, shockingly, only four per cent are meeting the recommend daily intake for vegetables, leaving their growing bodies lacking in the required nutrition.”

This Nutrition Australia’s National Nutrition Week (October 14-20), Cancer Council Queensland is encouraging Queenslanders to include more fruit and veggies into their diets, and their children’s.

“It is vital we are increasing our fruit and veggie intake to improve our health and reduce our risk of cancer, and encourage healthy habits in the younger generation,” Ms McMillan said.

“This National Nutrition Week let’s think more about what we put onto our plates and try for five serves of veggies and two serves of fruit.

“A serve of fruit is a medium-sized apple or banana, and a serve of vegetables is one cup of raw salad veggies.

“More than 27,000 Queenslanders are diagnosed with cancer each year and up to a third of all those cases could be prevented through healthier life choices, including maintaining a healthy diet.

“We recommend following the Australian Dietary Guidelines for a balanced diet, and to further lower your cancer risk you can keep physically active, remain SunSmart, avoid or quit smoking, limit alcohol consumption and participate in recommended cancer screening programs.”

For more information about Cancer Council Queensland, visit www.cancerqld.org.au or call 13 11 20 for information and support.

[1] Nagle CM, Wilson LF, Hughes MCB, Ibiebele TI, Miura K, Bain CJ, Whiteman DC, Webb PM, Cancers in Australia in 2010 attributable to inadequate consumption of fruit, non-starchy vegetables and dietary fibre, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 2015; 39 (5): 422-428

[2] Queensland Health, The Health of Queenslanders 2016, Report of the Chief Health Officer Queensland Queensland Government, Brisbane

For more information or interviews, please contact:

Abby Page
Public Relations Advisor,
Cancer Council Queensland
Phone: (07) 3634 5182
Mobile: 0428 580 363