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The study reveals eating dairy and a low-fat diet can reduce the risk of bowel cancer in New Zealand populations.
The four-year study concluded that higher than average consumption of lamb, pork and bread, along with processed meats, was associated with an increased risk of the disease.
An "average" consumption is about three servings a week.
A reduced risk of bowel cancer was also found with a history of vigorous exercise.
The study was undertaken by Dr Mary Jane Sneyd and Associate Professor Brian Cox of the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine at the Otago Medical School.
Prof Cox said while similar data has been found overseas, risk factors differ from population to population.
"It was important to actually do the study in New Zealand and get some accurate assessments of the risk within the New Zealand population.
"It is no good just applying overseas information to New Zealand's population and expecting somehow that is going to be very accurate."