Elizabeth S. Reames | 4/19/2005 10:28:33 PM
"It’s never too late to begin healthy eating and exercise habits," says LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames. The nutritionist reflects on National Cancer Control Month observed during April.
According to the American Cancer Society, about one-third of the 500,000 cancer deaths in the United States each year occur from dietary factors. Another third occur from cigarette smoking.
"Although genetics is a factor in the development of cancer, factors such as cigarette smoking, dietary choices and physical activity can change the risk of cancer at all stages of its development," Reames says, adding, "Studies show the introduction of healthful diet and exercise practices at any time from childhood to old age can promote health and reduce cancer risk."
Many dietary factors can affect cancer risk: certain foods, food preparation methods, portion sizes, food variety and overall caloric balance. More than 200 previous studies indicate that a diet high in fruits and vegetables can lower cancer risk.
"Americans often have unhealthy eating habits," Reames notes. In the past few decades, Americans have increased calories while reducing physical activity. This phenomenon has occurred in part because of increased eating of food outside the home, more sedentary lifestyle patterns and the advertising and promotion of high calorie foods.
The LSU AgCenter nutritionist offers these dietary suggestions to decrease cancer risk:
1. Eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Eat other foods from plant sources, such as breads, cereals, grain products, rice, pasta or beans several times each day.
2. Limit your intake of high fat meats and dairy products.
3. Be physically active, at least moderately active for 30 minutes or more on most days of the week.
4. Achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
5. Limit consumption of alcoholic beverages, if you drink at all.
The American Institute of Cancer Research recommends eating a healthy diet, exercising and maintaining a healthy weight to reduce cancer risk by 30 percent.
For more information about eating healthfully using the Food Guide Pyramid and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, contact the LSU AgCenter Family and Consumer Sciences agent in your parish. Also, visit the FCS Web site at http://www.lsuagcenter.com/Inst/Extension/Departments/fcs/.
On the Internet: LSU AgCenter: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/Inst/Extension/Departments/fcs/
Source: Beth Reames (225) 578-3329, or firstname.lastname@example.org