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Dr. Walter Willett MD with Harvard University and Cheryl Rock PhD, RD with the University of California, San Diego, explain the research on the relationship between diet and exercise and cancer.  The identify ways in which public health can have an impact in improving diet and decreasing cancer risk.  


Watch a little at a time by clicking on the videos below or watch the entire video at the bottom of the page.

Part 1 - Overview (5:25)

Part 2 - Diet Quality I - Fruits & Vegetables (5:57)

Part 3 - Diet Quality II - Meat & Alcohol (3:40) 

Part 4 - Weight Management I - Cancer Risk (3:58)

Part 5 - Weight Management II - Reducing Risk (3:37)  

Part 6 - Weight Management III - Cancer Treatment (3:31)

Part 7 - Importance for Public Health (7:22)

Part 8 - Nutritional Supplements (2:03)

Full Video (34:23)


Learning Objectives

  • Explain limitations in studying relationship between nutrition and cancer
  • List dietary and physical activity guidelines in relation to cancer prevention
  • Identify the public health role in nutrition messaging for cancer prevention  

Quiz and Certificate of Completion

Click Quiz and Certificate of Completion to take a short quiz and reeceive a certificate for this topic.


Dr. Walter Willett, MD, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health

Dr. Walter Willett is Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition and Chairman of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  Dr. Willett, an American, was born in Hart, Michigan and grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, studied food science at Michigan State University, and graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School before obtaining a Doctorate in Public Health from Harvard School of Public Health.  Dr. Willett has focused much of his work over the last 25 years on the development of methods, using both questionnaire and biochemical approaches, to study the effects of diet on the occurrence of major diseases. He has applied these methods starting in 1980 in the Nurses’ Health Studies I and II and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.  Together, these cohorts that include nearly 300,000 men and women with repeated dietary assessments are providing the most detailed information on the long-term health consequences of food choices.

Dr. Willett has published over 1,100 articles, primarily on lifestyle risk factors for heart disease and cancer, and has written the textbook, Nutritional Epidemiology, published by Oxford University Press. He also has three books book for the general public, Eat, Drink and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating, which has appeared on most major bestseller lists, Eat, Drink, and Weigh Less, co-authored with Mollie Katzen, and most recently, The Fertility Diet, co-authored with Jorge Chavarro and Pat Skerrett. Dr. Willett is the most cited nutritionist internationally, and is among the five most cited persons in all fields of clinical science. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the recipient of many national and international awards for his research.

Cheryl Rock, PhD, RD, University of California San Diego, Division of Preventitive Medicine

 Dr. Rock is a professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, and the Cancer Prevention and Control Program, University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine.  She completed undergraduate training in nutrition and dietetics at Michigan State University, achieved a Master of Medical Science degree in clinical nutrition at Emory University, and was awarded a doctoral degree in nutritional sciences from the University of California, Los Angeles.  

Dr. Rock’s research efforts are focused on the role of nutritional and dietary factors in the development and progression of cancer, particularly breast cancer, and healthy weight management in adults.  Her research efforts address diet composition and weight management, and how diet, adiposity and physical activity affect biomarkers and risk and progression of cancer and other chronic diseases.  Dr. Rock is presently responsible for randomized trials funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that are testing whether healthy weight control and modifications in diet and physical activity can alter biological processes, hormonal factors, and biomarkers of disease progression.  In addition to also serving as principal investigator for industry-sponsored randomized clinical trials of  weight loss programs and strategies, she is a co-investigator on several NIH-funded studies that are focused on obesity, various weight loss interventions, and behavioral and metabolic factors associated with disease risk.  Dr. Rock also leads the Diet and Physical Activity Shared Resource of the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, a laboratory and dietary assessment and counseling recharge service unit that is focused on identifying and measuring dietary biomarkers, improving dietary assessment methods, and facilitating behavioral interventions.

Dr. Rock has served on numerous NIH and USDA review panels and committees, and she currently serves on editorial boards for several peer-reviewed journals.  To date, Dr Rock is the author of more than 260 scientific papers and book chapters.

Cancer Control Video Series | Cancer Sites | Cancer Risk Factors | Improving Cancer Outcomes | Browse Resources