To study the effects of family history and reproductive, anthropometric, and dietary factors on the risk of breast cancer among low risk populations, we conducted a hospital-based case-control study involving 908 patients with breast cancer and their matched controls, in Japan. A positive family history of breast cancer significantly increased the risk of breast cancer (odds ratio = 1.52, 95% confidence interval: 1.14-2.03). The risk further increased with increasing number of family members affected. Obesity, single marital status, fewer births, a late childbirth, and less consumption of green-yellow vegetables and dairy products were also associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. These associations were independent in multivariate analyses. There was no increase in risk associated with consumption of high fat foods. When analyzed by menopausal status, the association with family history of breast cancer, especially in the first degree of relatives, was more evident for premenopausal breast cancer. The associations with obesity and lower consumption of dairy products were more pronounced for postmenopausal breast cancer, while those with lower parity and single marital status were stronger for premenopausal breast cancer.