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Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Health


Reduce the risk of Cancer with Food, Nutrition and Physical Activity

Tammy Roberts, MS, RD, LD, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist in Barton County, University of Missouri Extension


A report produced by the World Cancer Research Fund along with the American Institute for Cancer Research has been published to help citizens of all societies reduce the risk of cancer. Distinguished researchers from all over the world have agreed on these recommendations on food, nutrition and physical activity practices. The group has made ten recommendations which include:


  1. Be as lean as possible within the normal range of body weight. The group contends that maintaing a healthy body weight not only helps protect against cancer but other chronic diseases as well.
  2. Be physically active as a part of everyday life. All forms of physical activity protect against some cancers. The recommendation is to be physically active for 30 minutes every day. Once that goal is reached, aim to be active for one hour a day.
  3. Limit consumption of energy dense foods and avoid sugary drinks. For this recommendation, energy dense refers to foods that have more than 225-275 Calories per 3.5 ounces of weight. The group recommends that we avoid sugary drinks and consume fast foods sparingly.
  4. Eat mostly foods of plant origin. Consume lots of non-starchy vegetables such a broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, daily. Get at least 25 grams of fiber every day. Whole grains and legumes can help achieve this goal.

  5. Limit intake of red meat and avoid processed meat. This recommendation includes eating less than 18 ounces of beef, pork, lamb, and goat from domesticated animals in a one-week period. (Keep in mind that if you eat the recommended 3 ounce portions, you could have red meat six days a week and meet this guideline.
  6. Limit alcoholic drinks. For people who consume alcohol, limit to no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink per day for women.
  7. Limit consumption of salt and avoid moldy cereals and legumes. Salt consumption should be no more than 2.4 grams per day (the equivalent of a teaspoon or 2400 milligrams). Avoiding moldy cereals and legumes reduces the exposure to aflatoxins.
  8. Aim to meet nutritional needs through diet alone. Consume foods rather than dietary supplements to get needed nutrients.
  9. Mothers should breastfeed their children. The group recommends that infants be exclusively breastfed for six months. This is protective for the mother (prevents breast cancer) as well as the child (prevents overweight and obesity).
  10. Cancer survivors should follow the recommendations for cancer prevention.


These recommendations are a part of an overall healthy lifestyle and could help with the prevention and control of a variety of chronic diseases and conditions. If you would like to see the full report, visit





Last update: Tuesday, May 05, 2009








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