Summary of the ACS Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity

ACS RECOMMENDATIONS FOR INDIVIDUAL CHOICES

Achieve and maintain a healthy weight throughout life.

  • Be as lean as possible throughout life without being underweight.
  • Avoid excess weight gain at all ages. For those who are overweight or obese, losing even a small amount of weight has health benefits and is a good place to start.
  • Get regular physical activity and limit intake of high-calorie foods and drinks as keys to help maintain a healthy weight.

Be physically active.

  • Adults: Get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week (or a combination of these), preferably spread throughout the week.
  • Children and teens: Get at least 1 hour of moderate or vigorous intensity activity each day, with vigorous activity on at least 3 days each week.
  • Limit sedentary behavior such as sitting, lying down, watching TV, and other forms of screen-based entertainment.
  • Doing some physical activity above usual activities, no matter what one’s level of activity, can have many health benefits.

Eat a healthy diet, with an emphasis on plant foods.

  • Choose foods and drinks in amounts that help you get to and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Limit how much processed meat and red meat you eat.
  • Eat at least 2½ cups of vegetables and fruits each day.
  • Choose whole grains instead of refined grain products.

If you drink alcohol, limit your intake.

  • Drink no more than 1 drink per day for women or 2 per day for men.

ACS RECOMMENDATIONS FOR COMMUNITY ACTION

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

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

 

This 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

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Our team is made up of doctors and master’s-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Medical Review: January 11, 2012 Last Revised: February 5, 2016

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