“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?

Today is World Cancer Day

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america-globeFebruary 4th is World Cancer Day – an annual global awareness-raising initiative organized by the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) that shines a spotlight on the small, everyday changes that can lower cancer risk.

AICR welcomes World Cancer Day 2010 as an opportunity to share the vital, life-saving, evidence-based message that we are not powerless before this disease. The evidence is in, and its shows that steps can be taken, by anyone, at any age, to help protect against cancer.

AICR President Marilyn Gentry shares her thoughts on this important day.

Meanwhile, AICR is marking World Cancer Day by launching two translated summaries of our major policy report, Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention. This report translates the scientific evidence into clear recommendations that show how all levels of society – government, individuals, schools, workplaces, the media, and more – can work together to reduce cancer incidence around the globe.

Working with the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), we’ve produced a Spanish summary of the policy report that tailors recommendations to Latin American countries and regions.

We’ve also partnered with the Brazilian National Cancer Institute (INCA) to produce a Portuguese summary that speaks to the policy makers in Brazil and other countries where cancer rates are rising.

We’re launching both translations today, at events in Washington and Rio de Janeiro.  We’ll keep you posted.

Train for Your Brain

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Give Your Neurons a Workout
Give Your Neurons a Workout

Physical activity reduces risk for cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  Need another reason to exercise?  Turns out it’s a workout for your brain as well.

Two recent studies looked at exercise and mild cognitive impairment (MCI).  MCI typically involves memory impairment, but can also affect language, attention, reasoning, judgment, reading and writing.

In the first study participants who reported moderate exercise during midlife or later life were less likely to have MCI.   The authors suggest this may be due to production of nerve-protecting compounds, greater blood flow to the brain or other neuronal and cardiovascular benefits.  Although people who are more physically active could also “show the same type of discipline in dietary habits, accident prevention…compliance with medical care and similar health-promoting behaviors.”

The second study followed 29 participants (average age 70) with MCI.  Those randomly assigned to an exercise group, completed 4 days per week of 45 to 60 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity.  The control group did stretching exercises, but maintained low heart rates.

The vigorous exercisers showed improved cognitive function compared to the control group.  The authors point out that this would be a cost-effective practice to improve cognitive performance without the adverse effects of many drug therapies.

Seemingly simple, exercising consistently is difficult for many Americans.  If you’re looking for ideas, AICR offers tips on starting and maintaining a physical activity program.

If you’re already a regular exerciser, how do you manage to fit it in?  Let us know.