About 340,000 cancer cases could be prevented every year in the United States if Americans ate healthful diets, exercised regularly, limited alcohol consumption and made other lifestyle changes. This is according to findings released in February of this year by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) in conjunction with World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF). The report estimates that significant reductions in common cancers could be achieved, including breast (38 percent of cases), stomach (47 percent of cases) and colon (45 percent of cases).
“The American Institute for Cancer Research is honored to be part of the effort to reduce cancer risk both in the United States and across the world. We urge Americans to make the simple lifestyle changes of eating healthy food, getting regular physical activity, and maintaining a healthy weight to reduce cancer risk,”; said AICR/WCRF expert panel member Tim Byers, MD, MPH of the Colorado School of Public Health. “We are making progress, but with hundreds of preventable cancer cases still being diagnosed every day in the United States, and thousands worldwide, it’s imperative that we all take action now through both the personal and collective choices we make.”;
The AICR/WCRF findings are further supported by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) new Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health. This landmark report reinforces the conclusion that regular physical activity can prevent many diseases such as breast and colon cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes. The report provides concrete recommendations for levels of physical activity needed for health at three ages (5-17 years, 18-64 years, and over age 65); these recommendations are especially helpful for low- and middle-income countries, where few national guidelines for physical inactivity exist.
“Physical activity is recommended for people of all ages as a means to reduce risks for certain types of cancers and other non-communicable diseases,”; says Dr. Tim Armstrong, from WHO’s Department of Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion. “In order to improve their health and prevent several diseases, adults should do at least 150 minutes moderate physical activity throughout the week. This can be achieved by simply walking 30 minutes five times per week or by cycling to work daily.”
AICR/WCRF preventability estimates: Update to estimates produced for the 2009 Policy Report. 2011. American Institute for Cancer Research/World Cancer Research Fund. Available at: http://www.aicr.org/site/DocServer/UICCprWCD2011.pdf?docID=4781. Accessed Feb. 7, 2011.