Up to one-third of all cancer cases may be prevented by healthy diets and exercise, notes FANSA

CHICAGO -- Healthy diets and exercise may prevent as many cases of cancer in the United States as not smoking, according to a recent statement by the Food and Nutrition Science Alliance (FANSA). Cancer kills more than 500,000 Americans every year. In a review of cancer research, FANSA found overwhelmingly conclusive evidence that the risk of several types of cancer can be dramatically lowered through healthy dietary practices and exercise.

"In terms of cancer prevention, a healthy diet and exercise are as important as not smoking," says Dennis Savaiano, Ph.D., chair of FANSA and Professor of Foods and Nutrition at Purdue University. "Approximately one-third of cancer cases are attributed to smoking, one-third to poor diet and lack of exercise, and one-third to genetic or other factors. Most Americans are already aware of the detrimental effects of smoking, but poor diet is cause for alarm. We need to initiate changes in behavior now, in order to reduce the number of cancer-related deaths in the years to come."

The FANSA Statement, "Diet and Cancer Prevention in the United States," specifically urges Americans to take the following steps to reduce their cancer risk:

  • Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes in accordance with the USDA Food Guide Pyramid.
  • Avoid high calorie foods with little nutritional value.
  • Choose activities that involve moderate or vigorous exercise.
  • Limit or abstain from alcohol intake.

The FANSA statement, which can be viewed at www.faseb.org/ascn/fansa12-99.htm, is the first step in a nationwide call for action. In order to effect a change, all food, nutrition, fitness, health, and government organizations must strive to create consumer demand for a healthy lifestyle.


Contact: Dennis Savaiano
Institute of Food Technologists

Page: 1

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