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American Cancer Society Guideline for Diet and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in both men and women in the United States, behind only heart disease. People with cancer also often experience physical effects (from the cancer itself and from treatment), distress, and a lower quality of life. Quality of life can also be affected for family members, caregivers, and friends of people with cancer.

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. At least 18% of all cancers diagnosed in the US are related to excess body weight, physical inactivity, excess alcohol consumption, and/or poor nutrition, and thus could be prevented.

Along with 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.

At least 18% of all cancers and about 16% of cancer deaths in the US are related to excess body weight, physical inactivity, alcohol consumption, and/or poor nutrition. Many of these cancers could potentially be prevented by following the ACS recommendations on nutrition and physical activity.


Achieve and maintain a healthy weight throughout life.

● Keep your weight within the healthy range, and avoid weight gain in adult life. Be physically active. Adults: Get 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity or 75-150 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week (or a combination of these). Getting to or exceeding the upper limit of 300 minutes is ideal. ● Children and teens: Get at least 1 hour of moderate or vigorous intensity activity each day. ● Limit sedentary behavior such as sitting, lying down, watching TV, and other forms of screen-based entertainment. ● Follow a healthy eating pattern at all ages. A healthy eating pattern includes: Foods that are high in nutrients in amounts that help you get to and stay at a healthy body weightA variety of vegetables – dark green, red and orange, fiber-rich legumes (beans and peas), and othersFruits, especially whole fruits in a variety of colorsWhole grains ● A healthy eating pattern limits or does not include: Red and processed meatsSugar-sweetened beveragesHighly processed foods and refined grain products ● It is best not to drink alcohol.

People who do choose to drink alcohol should have no more than 1 drink per day for women or 2 drinks per day for men.

By The American Cancer Society

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