Your Child’s Health – Can You Prevent Cancer in Her Adult Life?
Upon review of scientific evidence, an international panel of cancer experts suggested that cancer might be prevented in many cases by staying lean through diet and exercise.
The summary of the report that was issued jointly by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research outlined an evidence-based scientific statement about the role of nutrition regarding cancer prevention. The document entitled “Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective” includes information on how nutrition and physical activity affect our cancer risk.
One of the strongest conclusions drawn by the cancer team, in light of scientific evidence, was that being overweight or obese contributes to cancer risk. The risk is related to chronic inflammation that is present in overweight and obese people as a result of elevated levels of C-reactive protein and leptin.
The panel recommended that cancer prevention should start in early childhood. Some of the major goals should be to prevent overweight and obesity by providing nutritious meals and increasing physical activity from a very early age.
The report made six major recommendations for cancer prevention. Below, there is a list of recommended activities that in light of scientific findings might reduce our cancer risks:
1. Be as lean as possible within a normal range of body weight.
Ideally, body weight should be maintained at the lower end of the BMI range until age 21 years, and than stay within the normal range after that.
2. Be physically active daily.
Engage in moderate physical activity daily for one hour. Moderate physical activity means that you should breathe faster than normal and you might work up a sweat.
3. Limit high-caloric foods in your diet and avoid sugary drinks.
They provide too many calories and too little nutrients. Avoid fast food if possible! Substitute Starbuck’s coffee with a homemade brew. That way you’ll be in control of how much sugar goes into you beverage.
4. Eat mostly foods of plant origin.
Evidence shows that diets based on plants provide protection against cancer, so fill-up on veggies and fruit!
5. Limit red meat and avoid processed meat.
Intake of red meat should be limited to less than 18 ounces or 500 grams weekly. There is convincing evidence that processed meat and large consumption of red meat are causes of colorectal cancer. Processed meat is that which is preserved by smoking, curing, or salting. Grilling and barbecuing meat or fish over a direct flame produces carcinogenic compounds in the food, so try to broil, bake, or steam your meat.
6. Limit salt intake.
Salt-preserved foods and foods containing large amount of salt (sodium chloride) are probably a cause of stomach cancer. Daily intake should be limited to less than 6 grams of salt (2.4 g sodium). This can be achieved by decreasing consumption of processed foods.
Overall, we are back to simple foods. Raw is in, processed is out.
Dr. Hillary is a pediatric nurse practitioner with a doctoral degree in health promotion and risk reduction. She works as a pediatric clinician and writes for Plugged in Parents. Plugged In Parents provides up-to-date info on pediatric health, safety and nutrition along with movie reviews, recipes, tech-savvy tips, and a parent’s only forum. You can also contact Dr. Hillary for personal questions related to health and nutrition.