The American Cancer Society has updated its guidelines on diet and physical activity for cancer prevention, identifying the four key elements of reducing a person’s lifetime risk of developing or dying from cancer:
- Staying at a healthy weight
- Staying active throughout life
- Following a healthy eating pattern
- Avoiding or limiting alcohol consumption
Only “not smoking” outranks these behaviors in terms of things that people can control in order to help lower their cancer risk. In fact, roughly one in five of all cancer cases in the United States are related to a combination of these four factors.
The American Cancer Society recommends getting more physical activity, eating limited amounts (or no) processed or red meat, and avoiding or limiting alcohol consumption. The specific recommendations are as follows:
- Get to and stay at a healthy body weight throughout life. If you have overweight or obesity, losing even a few pounds can lower your risk for some types of cancer.
- Adults should get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, or 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity, or a combination. Getting 300 minutes or even more will provide you the most health benefits.
- Children and teens should get at least 1 hour of moderate- or vigorous-intensity activity each day.
- Spend less time sitting or lying down. This includes time looking at your phone, tablet, computer, or TV.
- Eat a colorful variety of vegetables and fruits, and plenty of whole grains and brown rice.
- Avoid or limit eating red meats such as beef, pork, and lamb and processed meats such as bacon, sausage, deli meats and hot dogs.
- Avoid or limit sugar-sweetened beverages, highly processed foods and refined grain products.
- It is best not to drink alcohol. But if you do, women should have no more than one drink per day and men should have no more than two. A drink is 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.
Making healthy choices when it comes to eating and physical activity can be challenging for many people, which is why the American Cancer Society calls on public, private and community organizations to work together to increase access to affordable, healthy foods and provide safe and enjoyable opportunities for physical activity.
And this is where ACE Certified Professionals come in.
You are ideally positioned to empower people to make healthier nutrition choices and become more physically active. It can be very motivational for many people to learn that their physical-activity routines are not only making them more fit, but also directly impacting their long-term health in a very real and positive manner. Use these guidelines as another tool in your arsenal when inspiring clients to implement and maintain lifestyle behavior changes that will improve their fitness, health and overall well-being.