How important is it to eat a healthy diet?  Just ask the American Cancer Society!

The organization recently updated nutrition and physical-activity guidelines that stress the importance of lifestyle in cancer prevention.

Their new guidelines call for limiting some foods and beverages, such as red meat and alcohol.  However, other foods are given the OK when used in moderation.

Here are several quotes by American Cancer Society officials I found in USA Today:

“There’s no evidence that coffee causes cancer,” said Colleen Doyle, director of nutrition and physical activity for the American Cancer Society. Also, “there’s no evidence that artificial sweeteners increase cancer risk” in the amounts people typically consume…

…To reduce the risk of a variety of cancers, Doyle suggests paying attention to your “overall dietary pattern.”

For example, “eating more fruits and vegetables, especially the colorful ones; eating more whole grains; eating less red and processed meat — we know those combination of things can really make a big difference,” she said.

Exercise and not overeating also are important when it comes to cancer prevention, Doyle said, noting that “if you don’t smoke, the biggest risk factor is overweight and obesity.”

Nothing new here!  I attended a meeting at a well known regional cancer center today.  Sitting around the table–eating salads–were a dozen women.  Not all slim, mind you.  But I could tell most of them exercised regularly–and I’ll bet you $100 none of them smoke.

The topic:  Community outreach

More than once the point was made that lack of access to healthy food sources hurts lower income communities nearby, contributing to an obese population.

Lots of other great points were made, too.  But until parents make a commitment to do whatever it takes to help their kids–and themselves–eat a healthier, vegetable-rich diet, not much is going to change.

It’s all about education, access to healthy, affordable nutritious alternatives–and money.  True, in order to eat a healthy, anti-cancer diet, a person/family needs to make a commitment.

But they also need enough money to be able to afford fresh organics, possibly a health club membership and other thinks a lot of middle and upper middle class Americans take for granted.

I’m afraid these enthusiastic professionals aren’t going to solve this problem anytime soon.  But at least they can lead by example!  Nearly every woman sitting around the table today (Yes!  I was the only guy there) was a woman of color.  Black, Hispanic, Asian.

Feel good, keep smiling and eat lots of raw fruit and vegetables each and every day!  Pat

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