Very large international and ethnic differences in cancer rates exist, are minimally explained by genetic factors, and show the huge potential for cancer prevention. A substantial portion of the differences in cancer rates can be explained by modifiable factors, and many important relationships have been documented between diet, physical activity, and obesity, and incidence of important cancers. Other related factors, such as the microbiome and the metabolome, are emerging as important intermediary components in cancer prevention. It is possible with the incorporation of newer technologies and studies including long follow-up and evaluation of effects across the life cycle, additional convincing results will be produced. However, several challenges exist for cancer researchers; for example, measurement of diet and physical activity, and lack of standardization of samples for microbiome collection, and validation of metabolomic studies. The United States National Cancer Institute convened the Research Strategies for Nutritional and Physical Activity Epidemiology and Cancer Prevention Workshop on June 28-29, 2016, in Rockville, Maryland, during which the experts addressed the state of the science and areas of emphasis. This current paper reflects the state of the science and priorities for future research.