Public Action to Aid Cancer Prevention Urged
COMMUNITY support is essential for healthy behaviours that can reduce cancer risk, according to updated guidelines on nutrition and physical activity for cancer prevention released this week by the American Cancer Society.
“Our guidelines have always stressed what people can do themselves to lower their risk of cancer, and that’s important,” report co-author Colleen Doyle, director of nutrition and physical activity, said in a society news release.
“But we must also take public action to make those behaviours easier for all Americans. We can’t just tell people to eat more fruits and vegetables and get more exercise when there are so many forces working against them being able to do that easily, and on a regular basis,” she added.
“We’ve got to work together to ensure that worksites and schools have healthy food options; that our neighbourhoods are designed so that our children can safely ride their bikes or walk to school; that people have the information they need to help them make healthier food choices, whether at the grocery store or when eating out,” Doyle explained.
Along with four major recommendations on how individuals can reduce their cancer risk, the ‘Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention’ also outline community actions that can support those personal cancer prevention behaviours. They include: achieving and maintaining a healthy weight throughout life; being physically active; eating a healthy diet, with an emphasis on plant foods; and limiting alcohol consumption.
Each of the major recommendations includes several supporting recommendations.
Weight Try to remain lean throughout life without being underweight.
Take steps to avoid extra pounds at all ages.
For people who are overweight or obese, losing even a small amount of weight is a good start.
Physical activity Adults should get at least 150 minutes or moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity a week, or an equivalent combination. Children and teens should get at least an hour of moderate or vigorous intensity physical activity a day, with vigorous intensity activity at least three days a week.
Make a point of limiting sedentary behaviour, such as sitting, lying down, watching television and other such entertainment.
Diet Eat at least 2.5 cups of veggies and fruits a day.
Avoid eating processed and red meat.
Select whole grains instead of refined grain products.
Alcohol Men should have no more than two drinks per day and women should have no more than one drink per day