Health Connections: A Broader View of Wellness

What do sports, heart health, cancer prevention, eating disorders and wellness have to do with each other?

I just returned from the 30th Annual Symposium of SCAN Vitruvian Man– the Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition dietetic practice group – a specialty group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which is the professional home of registered dietitians. SCAN has been on the cutting edge of nutrition since its inception, seeing the interconnections of these areas.

At this year’s SCAN Symposium, I was delighted to speak to a packed room about the connection of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.  The three top diseases share numerous risk factors. And as research is increasingly showing, following recommendations that prevent cancer also reduce risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

During SCAN’s 30 years, the need to keep the big picture in mind has become even clearer among a variety of topics.

•    At one time, “wellness programs” focused primarily on heart health. Today, research identifies a broader vision of wellness, including how we can substantially reduce risk of cancer through eating and activity choices and a healthy weight. Wellness now refers to reducing people’s risk of disease and promoting their ability to live with vitality. Continue reading


Diet, Breast Cancers, Childhood Cancers: The Latest on Survivorship Research

I recently came back from a symposium of registered dietitians who specialize in cancer and nutrition, where there was a lot of exciting research presented on cancer survivorship.Mid section of female physiotherapist assisting senior woman to

Some presentations were highly technical – covering interactions of particular chemotherapy drugs with nutrition and updated tips for use of feeding tubes and pancreatic enzymes, for example. Take-home nuggets of broader interest include:

- Effects of weight loss in breast cancer survivors: Overweight and obese breast cancer survivors who lost weight through moderate changes in eating choices combined with regular physical activity lowered levels of insulin and estrogens, both of which can promote cancer development. Cheryl Rock, PhD, RD, showed evidence suggesting even five percent weight loss (about eight pounds for a 160-pound woman) may be enough to improve outcome. (Here’s a webinar that Dr. Rock and I presented on Diet and Physical Activity in Cancer Prevention and Survivorship.)

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Study: Stroll to Prevent Diabetes (and Possibly Cancer)

Evidence is clear that doing at least 150 minutes weekly of moderate physical activity lowers risk for type 2-diabetes. Now, one study shows that even light physical activity may provide some benefit for people at highest risk.bigstock-Mature-Couple-Walking-37462687

Type 2-diabetes increases risk for several cancers, including those of the liver, colon and endometrium. Both diseases share many risk factors, including insulin resistance.

The study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, included 68 sedentary, overweight and obese adults with pre-diabetes. They were randomly assigned to two groups. Both groups attended two educational sessions at the beginning of the 3 month study, but only one group attended a supervised walking program – 60 minutes, 3 times per week. Continue reading