Obesity tied to cancer

The good news: As a nation we're doing a much better job preventing and treating cancer, especially lung and breast cancer.

The bad news: The rising rate of obesity and decrease in physical activity increases risk of developing colorectal, post-menopausal breast, kidney and pancreatic cancer according to The American Cancer Society (ACS).

More good news: Choosing healthy foods low in fat and high in fiber plus getting regular physical activity decrease risk of cancer and also decrease risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. ACS recommends these six strategies to promote a healthy life:

Stay active. Adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week (or a combination of these), preferably spread throughout the week. Children and teens need at least 1 hour of moderate or vigorous intensity activity each day, with vigorous activity on at least three days each week. Moderate intensity activities are equal to a brisk walk such as mowing the lawn, yard work, downhill skiing and yoga. Vigorous intensity activities are jogging or running, playing sports, cross-country skiing or circuit weight training that result in a faster heart rate, quicker breathing, and sweating.

Limit sedentary behavior such as sitting, lying down, watching TV, and other forms of screen-based entertainment. Even small amounts of physical activity provide health benefits: some exercise is always better than no exercise.

Eat at least 21 2 cups of vegetables and fruits each day. Choose different colors of fruit and vegetables (green, red/orange, blue/purple, yellow, and white/brown) for high levels of antioxidants and phytonutrients.

Choose whole grains instead of refined grain bread, cereals, crackers and pasta for increased nutrition to help protect against cancer. Drink no more than 1 alcoholic beverage per day for women or two per day for men.

Avoid excess weight gain at all ages. For those who are overweight or obese, losing even a small amount of weight has health benefits and is a good place to start.

Lynn Grieger, RD, CDE, cPT is a health, food and fitness coach in Manchester and online at www.LynnGrieger.com. Raking leaves is another great example of moderate intensity exercise.


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