Keep that Fitbit On: Exercise Helps Prevent Cancer

If you’ve seen the recent headlines warning that physical activity won’t help you lose weight, you may be wondering if your evening walk or daily workout is worth the time.

The answer is a resounding YES – do take that evening walk, keep your pedometer on and get your exercise in whether you want to lose weight or not.

In the last few weeks, there’s been one article after another with experts arguing about what’s most important for weight loss – diet or exercise. But getting lost in all this discussion is the overwhelming evidence that physical activity provides many health benefits independent of weight loss, including lowering risk for at least three cancers – endometrial, colorectal and postmenopausal breast.being-physically-active-decreases-risk-of-these-cancers

There’s no argument that getting to and staying a healthy weight is also important for cancer. But this debate misses the mark when it comes to shaping your health. It is true that you “can’t outrun a bad diet,” as the author of a Washington Post article “Take off that Fitbit” says. It’s also true that for better health you need to do more than just cut calories.

For example, in that Post article, the author cites a study showing that diet only led to more weight loss than a diet and exercise group. What he didn’t point out is that while the diet only group lost slightly more weight, they also lost more muscle and bone mass than the diet and exercise group. This is especially critical because the study’s participants were 65 and older. Exercise helps you keep your muscle and strong bones at any age.

Apps, tracking devices and pedometers have also been singled out as not being the answer to weight loss. But losing weight takes a lot of work – it is hard to eat less – and you need all the support you can get to succeed. So while these devices aren’t the answer, studies do show that tracking your food and exercise is one key component to successful weight loss. You can also use a notebook, calendar or checklist, what matters is keeping track of your progress.

For more tips on eating smarter, learn about AICR’s New American Plate way of eating to lower cancer risk and lose weight healthfully.


Study: To Eat Less, Choose the Right Dining Companion

If you go out to lunch with a skimpy eater, you’ll probably eat a small amount too – even if you are used to eating more, says a new study.

In this study, the authors analyzed 38 studies that looked at how much – or how little – diners’ eating habits affected their dining companions’ portions.

Studies like this can help increase our understanding of the many factors that influence how much people eat and can help you develop effective strategies to achieve a healthy weight. That’s important for cancer prevention because overweight and obesity increases risk for 10 cancers, including colorectal, postmenopausal breast and liver. Continue reading


Study: How Supermarket Samples May Boost Cancer-Fighting Food Purchases

When you get a grocery store food sample, do you end up purchasing that item or something similar? If so, join the crowd – many people do. And now, says a new series of studies, if you think that food sample is healthy – whether it is or not – that can prime you to fill your grocery cart with healthier foods.

For supermarkets, the studies offer insights into helping their customers towards the healthier foods. But the study also offers some important take aways to help “prime” your home environment to shape healthier choices for your family, including more cancer fighting vegetables and fruits.

The authors conducted a series of studies to determine if food samples can set people up to make choices for either healthy or less healthy food items. In the first study 120 participants received an apple, cookie or no sample at the beginning of their shopping. The researchers then counted the number of fruits and vegetables samplers purchased at the end of shopping and found that apple samplers purchased more vegetables and fruits than cookie and no samplers. Continue reading