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No Alcohol, More Activity for Cancer Prevention

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Are you ready to ramp up your exercise and push alcohol to the curb?

The ACS has raised the bar for diet and physical activity in its newly revised cancer prevention guidelines. Read on to find out what other recommendations have changed.

No Alcohol, More Activity for Cancer Prevention
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On June 9th, the American Cancer Society (ACS) released updates to its diet and activity guideline for cancer prevention.  Since 1991, the ACS has published nutritional and physical activity guidelines to inform the public, policy makers and health professionals on diet and activity behaviors that reduce the risk of cancer.  Also addressed is what communities can do to facilitate healthy nutrition and physician activity among its residents. These recommendations are updated as new scientific data and screening technologies become available.

Experts Weigh In

When new evidence on diet, physical activity and cancer risks emerge, a diverse committee of volunteer experts reviews the information.  They also look at what policy or system changes can be made to reduce barriers in the public’s ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

The committee also considers recommendations from the International Agency on Cancer Research, the World Cancer Research Fund, the American Institute for Cancer Research and the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services.

Key Changes

There are key differences in the updated guideline, with a focus on alcohol, physical activity, and diet.  Let’s take a closer look.

Alcohol

2012 Recommendations

Limit alcohol consumption to no more than 1 drink per day for women and 2 per day for men.

2020 Update

It is best not to drink alcohol.  For people who choose to drink, consumption should be limited to no more than 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men.

Diet

2012 Recommendations

Consume a healthy diet:

  • Choose foods and beverages in amounts that help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight
  • Limit the consumption of red and processed meat
  • Eat 2.5 cups of vegetables and fruits daily
  • Choose whole grains instead of refined grains

2020 Updates

Follow a healthy eating pattern at all ages:

A healthy eating pattern includes:

  • High nutrient foods in amounts that help achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
  • A variety of vegetables (dark greens, red and orange, fiber-rich beans, and peas)
  • Fruits (whole fruits recommended) with a variety of colors
  • Whole grains instead of refined grains.

A healthy eating pattern does not include:

  • Read and processed meats
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Highly processed foods and refined grain products

Physical Activity

2012 Recommendations

Adults should engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity of physical activity each week.

2020 Updates

Adults should engage in 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity or 75-150 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity per week; achieving or exceeding 300 minutes is optimal.

Community Action

2012 Recommendations

Public, private and community organizations should work collaboratively at national, state, and local levels to implement policy and environmental changes that:

  • Increase access to affordable, healthy foods in communities, worksites, and schools, and decrease access to and marketing of foods and beverages of low nutritional value, particularly to youth.
  • Provide safe, enjoyable, and accessible environments for physical activity in schools and worksites, and for transportation and recreation in communities.

2020 Updates

Public, private, and community organizations should work collaboratively at national, state, and local levels to develop, advocate for, and implement policy and environmental changes that increase access to affordable, nutritious foods; provide safe, enjoyable, and accessible opportunities for physical activity; and limit access to alcoholic beverages for all individuals.

Big Picture

Lifestyle risk factors, such as being overweight, lack of activity, unhealthy diet and drinking alcohol, play a part in almost 1 in 5 U.S. cancers.  The changes made to the updated guidelines focus in on these modifiable risk factors, with the message:

Pass on these unhealthy food choices:

  • Red and processed meat
  • Sugary drinks
  • Highly processed food
  • Skip the alcohol
  • Amp up your activity
  • Sit less, move more

The ACS also recommends community involvement to support people in making healthy lifestyle choices.  Community initiatives, such as promoting access to affordable healthy foods and providing safe opportunities for activity, also help reduce the public’s risk of cancer.

Let’s Hear from You

What barriers have you encountered in trying to reduce your cancer risk?

References

American Cancer Society guideline for diet and physical activity for cancer prevention (2020):
https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/american-cancer-society-updates-guideline-for-diet-and-physical-activity.html

Exercise, Diet, Alcohol: New guidelines detail best ways to reduce cancer: https://www.healthline.com/health-news/exercise-diet-alcohol-new-guidelines-detail-best-ways-to-reduce-cancer-risk

J. Adderton RN MSN has over 25 years experience in clinical leadership, staff development, project management and nursing education. Made the decision 4 years ago to return to the bedside and is enjoying this stop in her nursing career.

7 Followers; 129 Articles; 35,179 Profile Views; 408 Posts

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1 Article; 134 Posts; 5,456 Profile Views

Need muuuuch more talk about the damage sugar does. This doesn't cut it.

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RN-to- BSN has 6 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in SCRN.

269 Posts; 4,978 Profile Views

On 6/22/2020 at 7:30 AM, J.Adderton said:

What barriers have you encountered in trying to reduce your cancer risk?

The barrier for me is diet. It is hard to eat balanced meals with a hectic schedule. Every week I try to do better but that fades away in light of other problems.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, people drink more alcohol, not less. Myself including. Hope it's temporary.

When I was a kid back in my old country, no one even heard of sunscreen, and worked on the field getting sunburned. Now, I use sunscreen.

 

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J.Adderton has 27 years experience as a BSN, MSN.

7 Followers; 129 Articles; 408 Posts; 35,179 Profile Views

7 hours ago, RN-to- BSN said:

 

When I was a kid back in my old country, no one even heard of sunscreen, and worked on the field getting sunburned. Now, I use sunscreen.

 

I remember my dad telling me "go ahead and get sunburned... then you won't burn the rest of the Summer". I am like you and slather sunscreen for any outdoor activities now.  Unfortunately, many many age spots.

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DowntheRiver has 6 years experience and specializes in Urgent Care, Oncology.

931 Posts; 14,375 Profile Views

On 6/25/2020 at 9:25 AM, RN-to- BSN said:

The barrier for me is diet. It is hard to eat balanced meals with a hectic schedule. Every week I try to do better but that fades away in light of other problems.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, people drink more alcohol, not less. Myself including. Hope it's temporary.

 

Every few weeks I cut something bad out. I've drank 2-3 RedBulls daily for 16 years. I quit cold turkey 6 weeks ago. I haven't lost any weight, but I am sleeping better for sure. 

Next week, I am quitting diet soda. Hopefully I keep dropping items through the end of the year. My problem lies when I quit everything all at once and my cravings just get out of control before I've found a good substitute. 

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2 Followers; 1,114 Posts; 7,040 Profile Views

My father is an alcoholic and has been my entire life. Just found out earlier this week he has advanced cancer. I don't drink because I watched him growing up and promised myself I would never be like him. I would definitely advise against drinking and smoking because the doctor said that's what caused his cancer.

As for me, I keto from time to time to detox myself from sugar. I've been doing pretty good but the brownies. Me in rehab: Hi my name is Nurse Blaq and I am addicted to brownies. 😂

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