Keep that Fitbit On: Exercise Helps Prevent Cancer

If you’ve seen the recent headlines warning that physical activity won’t help you lose weight, you may be wondering if your evening walk or daily workout is worth the time.

The answer is a resounding YES – do take that evening walk, keep your pedometer on and get your exercise in whether you want to lose weight or not.

In the last few weeks, there’s been one article after another with experts arguing about what’s most important for weight loss – diet or exercise. But getting lost in all this discussion is the overwhelming evidence that physical activity provides many health benefits independent of weight loss, including lowering risk for at least three cancers – endometrial, colorectal and postmenopausal breast.being-physically-active-decreases-risk-of-these-cancers

There’s no argument that getting to and staying a healthy weight is also important for cancer. But this debate misses the mark when it comes to shaping your health. It is true that you “can’t outrun a bad diet,” as the author of a Washington Post article “Take off that Fitbit” says. It’s also true that for better health you need to do more than just cut calories.

For example, in that Post article, the author cites a study showing that diet only led to more weight loss than a diet and exercise group. What he didn’t point out is that while the diet only group lost slightly more weight, they also lost more muscle and bone mass than the diet and exercise group. This is especially critical because the study’s participants were 65 and older. Exercise helps you keep your muscle and strong bones at any age.

Apps, tracking devices and pedometers have also been singled out as not being the answer to weight loss. But losing weight takes a lot of work – it is hard to eat less – and you need all the support you can get to succeed. So while these devices aren’t the answer, studies do show that tracking your food and exercise is one key component to successful weight loss. You can also use a notebook, calendar or checklist, what matters is keeping track of your progress.

For more tips on eating smarter, learn about AICR’s New American Plate way of eating to lower cancer risk and lose weight healthfully.


New Study on Popular Diets: What’s Best for You

Perhaps you’ve struggled to find a diet that works for you, despite the almost overwhelming number of choices. And research seems to yield varying results. This is important because being a healthy weight can lower your risk for chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and many cancers.Planning of diet.

A new study of popular diets in the Annals of Internal Medicine, completed a systematic review of controlled trials of popular diets and weight loss programs to look at their effectiveness at 12 months. These included Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Medifast, Atkins, SlimFast, eDiets and the LoseIt! app among others.

The authors concluded that Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig programs have the most robust evidence for people losing weight at one year when compared to doing nothing or simply getting general education about weight loss. They cited Nutrisystem as showing promise after a few months, but it lacks long-term results. These programs are all considered to be high intensity – meaning they include at least 12 individual or group counseling sessions. Continue reading


A Work Place Program that Improves Health, Lowers Disease Risk

Two Overweight Women On Diet Eating Healthy Meal In KitchenFor employees who are stressed at work or struggle to make a healthy dinner for their family, a new study finds that a flexible workplace program can help address these concerns and lead to weight loss, adding almost half an hour of weekly physical activity, and improving many other risk factors.

The study focused on employees at risk for type 2 diabetes (86 million US adults are at risk). Lowering risk for type 2 diabetes also means reduced risk for some cancers, including colon, breast (postmenopausal), pancreas and endometrium. Type 2 diabetes increases risk of some cancers, and both diseases share several risk factors such as obesity, elevated insulin levels, and physical inactivity.

The study, published last week in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found significant improvement in weight, waist size, insulin levels and physical activity in participants. About 90 employees participated by attending group classes or watching a DVD and having a weekly phone call with the lifestyle coach, or a combination of those. Continue reading