Mercy Regional Health Center
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Updated American Cancer Society Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention
Every five years, a national panel of cancer experts reviews the most current scientific evidence related to dietary and activity behavior and cancer risk (including risk of recurrence). This group recommends four individual choice actions, and asks that public, private and community organizations support the adoption of these healthy behaviors.

These evidence-based recommendations are:

1. Maintain a healthy weight by balancing caloric intake with physical activity.

2. Adopt a physically active lifestyle. For adults, this can be achieved by as little as 30 minutes of moderate physical activity (above usual activities) 5 days a week. For children and adolescents, 60 minutes 5 days a week is advised.

3. Choose a healthy diet that includes plenty of plant sources - 5 or more servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables daily. Whole grains are recommended in place of processed, or refined, grains. Processed and red meats should be limited, choosing lean meat and eating small portions (use as a side dish). In general, portion size should help maintain a healthy weight.

4. Alcoholic beverages should be limited to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.

The primary difference from the guidelines put forth in 2003 is the increased strength of the evidence regarding obesity's association with recurrence (return) of cancer after treatment, and its link to a poorer prognosis (how successfully the cancer can be treated). The recommendations are confirmed as having a significant impact before, during and after treatment for cancer.

A note about use of vitamin and mineral supplements: Overall, the best source is through food rather than supplements. When diet is consistently low in nutrients, a standard multivitamin/mineral supplement (100% of daily value) can be helpful. During treatment, it is essential that patients talk with their oncologist before taking any supplements; some can actually interfere with the treatment.


The entire article is available on CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.
Issue: September/October 2006, Vol. 56/No. 5
Title: "American Cancer Society Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention: Reducing the Risk of Cancer With Healthy Food Choices and Physical Activity"