ACS Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention

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American Cancer Society Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention

This document is a condensed version of the article describing the American Cancer Society (ACS) Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines, which are updated about every 5 years. The guidelines were developed by the American Cancer Society Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee. The full article (including references), which is written for health care professionals, is published in the January/February 2012 issue of CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, and is available for free online at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.3322/caac.20140/full

For most Americans who do not use tobacco, the most important cancer risk factors that can be changed are body weight, diet, and physical activity. One-third of all cancer deaths in the United States each year are linked to diet and physical activity, including being overweight or obese, while another third is caused by tobacco products.

Although our genes influence our risk of cancer, most of the difference in cancer risk between people is due to factors that are not inherited. Avoiding tobacco products, staying at a healthy weight, staying active throughout life, and eating a healthy diet may greatly reduce a person's lifetime risk of developing or dying from cancer. These same behaviors are also linked with a lower risk of developing heart disease and diabetes.

Although these healthy choices can be made by each of us, they may be helped or slowed by the social, physical, economic, and regulatory environment in which we live. Community efforts are needed to create an environment that makes it easier for us to make healthy choices when it comes to diet and physical activity.


Last Medical Review: 01/11/2012
Last Revised: 01/11/2012