AUSTIN, Texas – Small changes in nutrition and activity levels can substantially reduce cancer risk, says an expert presenting today at the American College of Sports Medicine’s 14th-annual Health & Fitness Summit & Exposition.
Karen Collins, M.S., R.D., outlined lifestyle strategies for cancer prevention, including regular physical activity (at least 30 minutes per day) and dietary considerations. Her nutritional recommendations included:
Eat a varied diet. Switch up the healthy offerings on your plate, getting a mix of beans, whole grains, fruits and additional veggies.
Watch your meat consumption. Processed meats – like bacon, hot dogs and sausage – should be avoided, if possible. Eat no more than 18 ounces of red meat per week.
Limit alcohol intake. Men should consume no more than two drinks per day; women, one drink. And pay attention to portion sizes – a “drink” is defined as one 12-ounce beer, five ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor.
Cut back on salt. Daily sodium intake should not exceed 2,400 mg.
“The new ‘American plate’ should be much more plant-based than it currently is,” Collins said. “Two-thirds of each meal should be vegetables, fruits or whole grains, and only one-third or less should be animal protein.”
Collins says body composition comes into play, too; to best prevent cancer, men should have a waistline less than 37 inches, and women should stay under 31.5 inches.
Physical activity also plays a large role in prevention – not only with cancer, but also with other chronic diseases. The Exercise is Medicine program is based on research showing that regular physical activity can treat or prevent high blood pressure, heart disease, type II diabetes, cancer and numerous other conditions.
The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 35,000 international, national, and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.