Stairs for Cancer Prevention?

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Blogging from a conference of the Society of Public Health Educators (SOPHE)

What are Public Health Educators talking about?

As at many health related conferences, the talk is about developing environments in neighborhoods, workplaces and schools to promote good health.  That is – encourage more physical activity and access to healthy food. Just about every researcher and practitioner is talking about how to engage the community and neighborhood to help drive these changes.  This may seem obvious, but it hasn’t always been done.  Read about AICR’s Policy Report Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention, which includes recommendations for government, schools, industry, health professionals and others.

Interesting research tidbit: One of the speakers today mentioned a simple initiative of posting signs and prompts around the workplace to encourage more use of stairs in the building.  This has shown moderate effectiveness with anywhere from 2-9% increase in stair use.  While not a huge change in behavior, it’s an easy intervention for inspiring some change.  And an easy way to incorporate more physical activity – which lowers risk for cancer  – into your day.

Do you choose stairs or elevators when given the choice?

“A Sea-Change in How the US Approaches Disease Prevention”

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Great short piece on America Public Media’s Marketplace Morning Report on a story that hasn’t gotten the attention it should:  How the new healthcare legislation broadens our national approach to diseases like cancer by placing an unprecedented amount of focus on prevention. Take a listen.

Understand: More and better prevention efforts are sorely needed and long overdue.  But if there’s one thing our policy report made clear, it’s that government can’t do it alone.  All levels of society – industry, schools, health professionals, the media, individuals – helped get us to where we are now, and must play a role in the kind of sweeping societal changes needed to make it easier for everyone to make healthy, cancer protective choices.

How are our policy report’s 49 recommendations addressed in the new legislation?  What, exactly, remains to be done?  It’ll take some time to tease out those answers.

In the meantime, count on the American Institute for Cancer Research for practical everyday advice that’s based on research your generosity makes possible — research that reveals how you can help protect yourself from cancer.

“Let’s Move” Initiative Will Lower Cancer Rates

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Family Eating An Al Fresco MealMichelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign to eliminate childhood obesity in a generation could have a major impact on cancer rates when today’s children become adults.

AICR estimates that approximately 100,000 cancers occurring in the US every year are caused by excess body fat.  Add physical activity and a healthy diet to weight management, and we could prevent about one-third of the most common cancers.  And what better prevention strategy than helping children adopt healthier behaviors?

The campaign focuses on four factors: Healthy Choices, Healthier Schools, Physical Activity and Accessible and Affordable Healthy Food.  This combination of policy changes, health professional action and family involvement envisioned by the First Lady is an important step toward helping children live healthier lifestyles.  And healthier lives will lead to fewer children becoming obese and remaining obese as adults.

AICR’s major report, Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention addresses many of these same issues  as to how policy changes can influence the behaviors that affect cancer risk and other chronic disease.

What do you see happening in your community to help children lead healthier lifestyles?