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Study: Smoked, Salted, and Cured Meats Could Increase Cancer Risk

By: CBS News
By: CBS News

August 28, 2009

(CBS News) Parents are being urged to stop putting ham and other processed meats into their children's school lunchboxes. The World Cancer Research Fund warns that children who eat smoked, salted or cured meats could increase their risk of developing cancer later in life.

Julia Johnston's son knows exactly knows exactly what he wants to eat. His favorite sandwich is cucumber and ham. But cancer researchers say it's hurting him and they want it banned from the

"There's convincing evidence that eating processed meat increases your risk of bowel cancer," says Lisa Cooney with the World Cancer Research Fund.

A study from the World Cancer Research Fund found that eating processed meat like bacon, ham and salami raise the risk of bowel cancer later in life.

They think preservatives may be to blame for producing cancer-causing substances.

"It's either the chemicals or what happens to them when they're processed in your body can raise your risk of cancer," says Sian Porter of the British Diabetic Association.

To make your child's lunchbox healthier, researchers say trade processed meat for snacks like low-fat cheese and hummus. Over a lifetime, they say small changes can help reduce the risk of cancer.

But some parents say they aren't buying it. One parent said, "it won't stop me from putting it in the kid's sandwiches at all."

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