Diet and Physical Activity: What’s the Cancer Connection?

Diet and Physical Activity: What’s the Cancer Connection?

How much do daily diet and physical activity affect your risk for cancer? Well, the connection is more than you might think. Research has found a body of evidence that being inactive and poor diet are key factors leading to an increased risk of developing cancer. 

The proof for this is strong. According to The World Cancer Research Fund, at least around 18% of cancer patients diagnosed in the US only are related to physical inactivity, body fatness, and/or poor nutrition, alcohol consumption, and thus could be prevented.

The good news is that you can do something to prevent this. Here are some practical tips from

Diet and Physical Activity – Useful tips to prevent cancer

Control your weight

Getting to and maintaining a healthy weight is important to reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart diseases. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of several cancers, including breast, rectum, colon, pancreas, kidney, liver, and more. 

Diet and Physical ActivityExcess weight causes our body to make and circulate more insulin and estrogen. These are hormones that can stimulate the growth of cancer. This is the main negative impact that we should really pay attention to.

So, what is a healthy weight?

One of the best ways to get an idea of a healthy weight is to check your body mass index (BMI). It is a score based on the correlation between your height and weight. You can search for the online BMI calculator on the Internet to find out your score. For instance, if your BMI ranges from 18.5 to below 25, this means you’re at a normal weight.

If you are trying to control your weight, a good start is with your portion sizes. Keep tabs on and limit your intake of foods high in fat, calories, and added sugars. A good practice is to jot down what and how much you consume for a week, then see where you can cut down on portion sizes, some not-so-healthy foods, and beverages, or both!

For those who are overweight or obese, losing pounds, even a small amount of weight has health benefits and is a good place to start.

Move more and sit less

Diet and Physical ActivityWatching how much you eat will help you better manage your weight. The other key is to be more physically active as it can help with weight control. It also improves your hormone levels and facilitates the operation of your immune system.

More good news – physical activity join the race to reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes, too! So, grab your athletic shoes, a water bottle, and get out the door! Below is your recommendation on the intensity of your workouts, which is based on your age: 

  • For adults: 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75-150 minutes having vigorous-intensity activities each week, or a combination of these. 
  • For kids: at least 60 minutes of moderate or vigorous-intensity activity each day.

Moderate activities include biking, jogging, walking, biking, or even gardening and housework.

Vigorous activities are those that call for the use of large muscle groups. They make your heartbeat deeper and faster. And you’ll sweat a lot while performing those. 

It’s also crucial to get rid of sedentary behaviors such as lying down own day, sitting in one place for a long time, or looking at your television, phone, or computer. It’s best to be more physically active, as you’ll surely stand a chance to reduce cancer risks.

Follow a healthy eating pattern

Eating in moderation is an important part of improving health and reducing the risk of cancer. Take a closer look at what you eat every day and try to develop a healthy eating plan for yourself and your family.

Diet and Physical Activity

A healthy eating pattern includes 

  • Foods rich in minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients
  • Foods that are low in calories to help you stay at a healthy body weight
  • A colorful variety of veggies – orange, dark green, and red vegetables
  • Fiber-rich peas and beans
  • A colorful collection of fruits 
  • Whole grains (in pasta, noodles, bread,..) and brown rice
  • Fish, poultry as the main source of protein instead of red meat.

A healthy eating diet limits or does not include… 

  • An excessive intake of red meats like lamb, beef, pork,
  • Processed foods like sausage, bacon, hot dogs, and luncheon meats
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages, including sports drinks, soft drinks, and fruit drinks
  • Refined grain products

More healthy eating tips for the best diet and physical activity

  • Prepare your meal by broiling, poaching, boiling, and baking rather than charbroiling and frying with oils.
  • Cut down on fast food consumption and prepare your own portion
  • Do not supersize your plate
  • Be a savvy and wise customer. Grasp a careful look at the food labels.
  • Limit the use of creamy sauces and dips with plant-based dishes. 

It is best not to drink alcohol

Alcohol consumption can increase the risk of developing several types of cancer. The more alcohol you drink, the higher your risk is. 

If you’re already a drinker, it’s best to keep your boozes moderate. No more than 2 drinks per day for men and only 1 for women. The recommended limit is lower for women because of their smaller body size and slower breakdown of alcohol.

A drink of alcohol is usually defined as 5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer, or 1½ ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits (hard liquor). 

Diet and Physical activity: Reducing cancer risk in our communities

Diet and Physical ActivityHaving a healthier lifestyle is easier for people who are a part of an environment that supports healthy behaviors. By working together, communities can create the type of environment in which healthy choices are easy to make.

We can all be part of these positive movements. Let’s start with healthier food choices in our workplaces and schools. Also, reach out to restaurants that help your appetite by offering options such as lower-calorie dishes, smaller servings, and whole-grain products. And let’s help make our communities safer and more attractive places to bike, walk, and be active.


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