Global Report Recommendations
In November 2007, the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research released the second global report on Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer. Over a 5-year period, a 21-scientist expert panel evaluated the best evidence that had been conducted and published by dozens of scientists in 30 countries. They debated the meaning of the evidence to arrive at public health recommendations.
A detailed overview of their 537-page report and the full transcript of the 10 recommendations were set-out in my March 2008 newsletter Prevention of Cancer.
Deaths from cancer continue to rise. This is in spite of the billions of dollars spent on research, earlier diagnosis and intervention.
Because the above report clearly sets out what to do to minimise the risk of cancer and even prevent it from occurring (and the 10th recommendation is for those with cancer), the recommendations are set out below in summary form, as a reminder to actively seek a lifestyle that will minimise the risk of developing cancer.
The following summary of the 10 recommendations is taken from www.health.harvard.edu. It is suggested that this summary is read in conjunction with the full text of my March 2008 newsletter.
1. Body fatness
Be as lean as possible within the normal range of body weight. Avoid weight gain and increases in waist circumference throughout adulthood.
2. Physical activity
Be physically active as part of everyday life. Walk or do equivalent exercise for at least 30 minutes every day. Try to work up to 60 minutes a day.
3. Foods and drinks that promote weight gain
Limit consumption of energy-dense foods, and avoid sugary drinks. Consume fast foods sparingly.
4. Plant foods
Eat mostly foods of plant origin. Eat at least five portions of a variety of non-starchy vegetables and fruits every day. Eat relatively unprocessed grains or beans with every meal. Limit refined starchy foods.
5. Animal foods
Limit intake of red meat to less than 18 ounces [540 grams] a week, and avoid processed meat.
6. Alcoholic drinks
If you consume alcoholic drinks, limit consumption to no more than two [standard] drinks a day for men and one [standard] drink a day for women.
Limit consumption of salt. Limit consumption of processed foods with added salt to ensure an intake of less than 2.4 g of sodium a day.
8. Dietary supplements
Aim to meet nutritional needs through diet alone. Dietary supplements are not recommended for cancer prevention.
9. Special recommendation 1. - Breast-feeding
Aim to breast-feed infants exclusively up to 6 months and continue with complementary feeding thereafter.
10. Special recommendation 2. - Cancer survivors
All cancer survivors should receive nutritional care from a trained professional. If able and not otherwise advised, aim to follow the recommendations for diet, health weight, and physical activity.
Follow the above and you will minimise the risk of developing cancer.
Many of these recommendations also apply to dietary causes of cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke). The notable exception is alcohol: for preventing cancers, the best level of consumption is zero; for cardiovascular diseases, it may be one to two standard drinks a day.
In the prevention of cancer, the authors of the report also emphasise the importance of avoiding exposure to tobacco smoke (active or passive).
“Whoever knows what is right to do and fails to do it, for him it is a sin.” James 4:17 (RSV).
*Copyright 2011 The Huntly Centre.
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