Helping children eat a healthful diet can be a challenge. Yet when children develop good health habits they’re more likely to stick with those habits later in life. And that can mean lower risk for many cancers and other chronic diseases when they become adults.
For many families, between all their activities and having limited experience with quick, healthy food prep, sitting down to healthful family meal may seem more like a luxury than routine. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
This past Tuesday, our monthly twitter chat focused on strategies and tips to help kids eat healthfully. Parents and registered dietitians weighed in on how they get their own families to eat healthy meals. Here are some ideas they shared:
1. Try theme meal nights: e.g. Taco Tuesday or Build Your Own Pizza Thursday.
It’s so much easier to prepare dinner if it’s already planned. For Taco Tuesday, all you need are the whole-wheat tortillas, beans, cooked chicken, chopped veggies and salsa. Put everything on the table and let everyone make their own. Continue reading
Cancer is American’s number one health concern, according to AICR surveys. Yet, a new report shows that as a nation we are shockingly slow to make and support lifestyle changes that could prevent about one-half of all cancer cases – and the accompanying cost, loss and suffering – in the United States.
The Cancer Prevention & Early Detection Facts & Figures (CPED) 2013 from the American Cancer Society reports on trends for tobacco use, obesity, diet, physical activity and screening. Although there’s a slowing in the increase of overweight and obesity, over 2/3 of Americans still fall into this category.
The science is clear: by staying lean, eating a healthful plant-based diet and being physically active Americans could prevent 1/3 – or about 400,000 cases – of the most common cancers every year. Just about every American recognizes that tobacco use and too much sun are cancer risks, but many Americans are not aware of the link between obesity and cancer. In fact, if everyone were a healthy weight, we could prevent over 116,000 cases of cancer every year. Continue reading
Breastfeeding provides numerous benefits to babies, including preventing many illnesses. Often overlooked is the benefit moms get from breastfeeding their babies.
Now for the first time, a study published yesterday found that women who followed AICR’s recommendation for breastfeeding reduced their risk of premature death from all diseases.
The study, featured in Cancer Research Update, found that mothers who breastfed their babies for at least six months had a 17 percent reduced risk for early death compared to women who did not breastfeed at all. Even those who breastfed for a shorter duration had about a 13 percent lower risk for early death. Breastfeeding linked to lower risk for early death from both cancer and cardiovascular disease.
We’ve known, from AICR’s expert report and its updates, that lactation reduces breast cancer risk for mom, but this evidence shows it can also help prevent early death. Although the researchers in this study did not discuss why breastfeeding may lower death risk, we do have some ideas as to how it helps lower risk for breast cancer.
- The longer women breastfeed, the fewer menstrual cycles they have and therefore have reduced lifetime exposure to hormones, especially estrogen, that influence breast cancer risk.
- Breast tissue is shed during lactation and for mature cells, there’s programmed cell death. Both decrease cancer risk as cells with potential DNA damage are shed or die.
This is the first study to look at the association between breastfeeding and mortality in the mother. The researchers say more studies need to be done to confirm these findings.
Most moms do want to breastfeed their babies as long as they can, but it can be very challenging to maintain without support. Find help, tips and suggestions for successful breastfeeding at womenshealth.gov.