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TalkingNutrition

Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals

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World Cancer Day: Today Begins the Rest of Your Life

By Michael McBurney

Today is World Cancer Day and the tagline is “Debunk the Myths”.  I will focus on myth number 3: There is nothing I can do about cancer. Some things cannot be changed (genetics) or with much upheaval (home and work communities). However, decisions about tobacco use, alcohol use, food choices and physical activity are ours to make; and they make a difference.

Stop smoking (or better yet, never begin). Tobacco use is linked to 71% of lung cancer deaths and accounts for 22% of all cancer deaths.

Drink alcohol in moderation. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that drinking too much alcohol can increase risk for many types of cancers – mouth, esophagus, throat, liver and breast.

Obesity is now the leading cause of cancer (American Institute for Cancer Research). Having a healthy body weight is important. If you are overweight, losing small amounts of weight, just 3-5% of body weight and keeping it off can bring benefits. See the American Cancer Association infographic for details. Regardless of your body weight, physical activity improves health (Powell et al, 2011). Even light-intensity activity. There is no lower threshold for benefits. More, of any kind, is better for your body. It is better to keep doing what you are than less.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Take care of yourself for tomorrow and every day thereafter.

Citation

Powell KE, Paluch AE, Blair SN. Physical activity for health: What kind? How much? How intense? On top of what? 2011 Ann Rev Public Health doi: 10.1146/annurev-publhealth-031210-101151


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