Cancer Prevention Awareness: ScreenNJ.org · PreventCancer.org · American Cancer Society · New Jersey Dept. Health
Next to not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight is the most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of cancer. Aim to be at the lower end of the healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) range.
Scientists recommend that we aim for a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate, or 75 minutes of vigorous, physical activity a week. For cancer prevention and weight control, higher levels of activity provide even more benefit. Sedentary behaviors – e.g. sitting at a computer, watching tv, – increase risk for weight gain, overweight and obesity. Break up your day by getting up and walking around a few minutes every hour.
Basing our diets around plant foods (like vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans), which contain fiber and other nutrients, can reduce our risk of cancer. The evidence that red meat (beef, pork and lamb) is a cause of colorectal cancer is convincing. Studies show, however, that we can consume modest amounts — 12 to 18 ounces (cooked) per week — without a measurable increase in colorectal cancer risk. There is strong evidence that consuming sugar-sweetened beverages causes weight gain, overweight and obesity.
Previous research has shown that modest amounts of alcohol may have a protective effect against coronary heart disease. But alcohol in any form is a potent carcinogen — it’s linked to 6 different cancers. The best advice for those concerned about cancer is not to drink. If you do choose to drink alcohol, however, limit your consumption to one drink for women and two for men per day.
There is strong evidence that breastfeeding helps protect against breast cancer in the mother. In addition, babies who are breastfed are less likely to become overweight and obese. Overweight and obese children tend to remain overweight in adult life.