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

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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. Read more… “Kicking Up Cancer Prevention: Helping Kids Who Are Overweight Get Active”

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    How Fit is Your City? It Relates to Cancer Prevention

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    Plenty of parks and active commuting along with relatively low rates of obesity and diabetes have led Washington, DC, to rank as America’s fittest metropolitan area for the second year in a row, finds the latest American Fitness Index survey, released today. Minneapolis and San Diego, ranked only slightly below. Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 2.13.49 AM

    The survey is one way residents and policymakers can take steps to lower cancer risk, with many of the measured risk factors related to prevention. Obesity is a cause of ten cancers, and type 2 diabetes links to increased risk of several cancers. Eating fruits and vegetables along with being active — regardless of weight — also reduces risk of several cancers.

    The cities that ranked among the least fit face many challenges, including fewer biking paths, parks and physical education school requirements. They also may have less access to fresh fruits and vegetables (farmers markets) and access to public transportation, which generally involves walking.

    In Memphis for example, which ranked among the least fit cities, only about 1 percent of residents are taking public transportation to work. And about half the residents reported doing any physical activity in the past 30 days. Compare that to DC, in which 14 percent of the residents are commuting to work by public transportation, and about three-quarters said they were active within the past month.

    You can read the full report and see how your city ranks at American Fitness Index.

    The survey, by the American College of Sports Medicine and the Anthem Foundation, used primarily government data to look at measures of personal health and community/environmental health. Personal health indicators included the percent of the residents that smokes, is obese, meets government activity guidelines, and eats three or more vegetables a day.

    Community health indicators include biking and walking to work, as well as the amount of parks and recreational centers.

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      Fun Cancer-Prevention Living Tips for Parents, Families

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      ­Overweight and obesity are responsible for about 120,000 cases of cancer in the United States each year. Nearly 1 in 2 Americans develops cancer at some point in their lives. http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-happy-boy-eating-salad-broccoli-inside-home-image30044420

      Although cancer touches many of us, many parents and health educators are unaware that prevention starts early – in childhood, or even in utero! Diet can affect not only your health, but that of generations to come. Last month, I spoke about healthy eating strategies for parents and educators in a webinar, working with AICR.

      Here are some highlighted tips for cancer prevention:

      • Eat more beans. They’re packed with phytochemicals and fiber –both, which can play a role in disease prevention. To cut back on sodium in canned beans, rinse them first. It decreases the sodium content by as much as 40%.
      • Find creative ways to move more! Have a “dark party” with your kids and their friends. Buy a pack of Glow-sticks and give each child a couple, crank up the volume on their favorite dance tunes and turn off the lights!

      Read more… “Fun Cancer-Prevention Living Tips for Parents, Families”

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