How Fit is Your City? It Relates to Cancer Prevention

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.


Speak Up Now: Voice Your Interests for the New Dietary Guidelines

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Me giving oral testimony. Click for full video.

Earlier this week, 70+ people – representing interests such as meat, dairy, public health, sugar, vegetarian, spices and sustainability – gathered at the National Institutes of Health to weigh in on what the 2015 Dietary Guidelines should say to Americans about a healthy diet.

I had the opportunity to represent AICR and speak up for guidance that will help Americans more easily make choices to lower their cancer risk. Everyone had 3 minutes to speak directly to experts from USDA and Health and Human Services who will be writing the 2015 dietary guidelines for Americans. You can watch the video here. The Dietary Guidelines (revised every 5 years) are key to how we move forward with dietary advice, and that also affects how food is produced and manufactured in the U.S. Continue reading


Less Red and Processed Meat? New Guidelines May Help Reduce Cancer Risk

16939621_sThis year, for the first time, the US Dietary Guidelines committee may recommend that Americans eat less red and processed meat, a key recommendation from AICR for lowering cancer risk. Every five years, the US Dietary Guidelines are updated based on the committee recommendations and they are due out this year.

According to reports from the committee’s most recent discussions, the 2015 nutrition and eating guidelines may also call for Americans to eat more plant foods, like vegetables, fruit, beans and whole grains, also an AICR recommendation. Research shows that eating patterns like this – more plant foods and minimal red meat –  can help prevent obesity and chronic diseases like cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

These 2015 guidelines may also call for lower sodium and specific limits on added sugars.

If enacted, these recommendations will better align with AICR’s Recommendations for Cancer Prevention and could, in the long-term, lead to fewer cancer cases. AICR estimates that about 1/3 of the most common cancer cases every year in the US wouldn’t happen if Americans followed a healthy diet, were physically active every day and maintained a healthy weight.

Guidelines like this will inform dietary advice for individuals, but will also set in motion changes for school lunches and other government food and nutrition programs. Read more about the guidelines at health.gov.