Kicking Up Cancer Prevention: Helping Kids Who Are Overweight Get Active

Today, there’s a world of entertainment for kids that has nothing to do with playing outside. It’s not uncommon for the overweight children I counsel to tell me they spend four or more hours a day watching TV or on a tablet, which leaves little time to be active.

youth baseball player in catcher's uniform squatting in position

Establishing healthy activity and eating patterns needs to start at a young age for us to see

a reversal in the obesity epidemic, one of the largest contributing factors to increased cancer risk. Yet only about a quarter of kids get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity daily, including kids who are overweight, which is about a third of children and adolescents.

For these kids, it can be more difficult to be active due to embarrassment, peer bullying and physical challenges associated with getting into an activity routine. Overweight and obese youth also tend to be less active due to poor motor skills, says Avery Faigenbaum, EdD, an expert on pediatric exercise at The College of New Jersey.

So how can we get kids who are overweight to be more active? Faigenbaum presented research at a recent weight management conference on effective ways to increase activity among overweight youth. Continue reading

Six Weeks of Turning on Your Summer Shield for Your Kids’ Health

With nearly 1 in 2 Americans developing cancer at some point in their lives, prevention must start early. So we’ve teamed up with AICR and are reaching out to parents and camps with our free printable activities, recipes and trackers to use during 6 weeks of summer! Kids’ activity level actually tends to decrease in the summer despite the images of going to the beach, riding bikes and playing outside. There is often less activity and more lounging, resulting in excess weight gain. This is why summer is an important time to focus on children’s health!

You can’t change your genes, but you can turn your protective shield on to influence them! Diet and lifestyle can make a huge difference to your health, while altering your genetic influences.

Think about what good health means to you and your family – living longer or better, social acceptance (for kids at school), having more energy, or for adults, being able to do daily chores with no problems, looking younger and/or setting an example for your kids. Then commit to just a few activities this summer that match your idea of good health.

kids-tracker-thumbHere are 7 ideas you can do — and why they’re so important — to help get you started: Continue reading

Cancer Prevention Begins at Your Kitchen Table: Transforming the Cancer Agenda

Half of cancers – one of every two cases – can be prevented and so often it’s about applying what we already know. That was the simple but powerful message at the first Cancer Prevention Summit held by the New York State Department I attended last week. The overarching message of the Summit was simple: 50% of cancers can be prevented and in New York State, where approximately 35,000 people die from cancer each year, primary cancer prevention is an urgent public health priority.

50-infographic-bigExperts spoke about vaccinating against HPV and preventing tobacco use, two major causes of cancers. What fewer people may know is there are concrete things that we can do to reduce our risk. Maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in regular physical activity, and eating well can prevent approximately one of three of the most common cancers.

Summit highlights included:

Shift the discussion to the notion that “cancer is preventable.” Begin to focus effort and awareness on risk reduction through modifiable lifestyle habits. This includes eating a predominantly plant-based diet, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, using sunscreen, participating in cancer screening, and avoiding tobacco use and heavy alcohol. Continue reading