Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Healthy Living & Cancer Prevention
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In light of this devastating disease, it’s important to bring awareness to the link between healthy living and your risk of developing any cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, one out of every three cancer diagnoses can be linked to excess body weight, an unhealthy diet, or inactivity. Of these, excess body weight seems to be the most serious of the risk factors! In fact, 14%-20% of all cancer deaths are associated with overweight or obesity.
Increasing the amount of physical activity you get can help you maintain a healthy body weight and may also be an important cancer-prevention tool. A recent Japanese study found women who exercised 8-10 hours each week were more likely to enter menopause earlier than their inactive counterparts. This is significant because researchers believe that exposure to hormones, like estrogen, increase the risk of developing certain cancers. By entering menopause earlier, you decrease your exposure to some hormones, thereby decreasing your risk of cancer.
But, exercise alone isn’t enough. Healthy behaviors, like following a healthy diet and getting adequate sleep, are an essential part of cancer prevention. One study of almost 6,000 women found that exercise was only effective in helping prevent cancer if she also got at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Sleeping less than 7 hours nightly appeared to negate the cancer-prevention benefits of exercise.
Working towards a healthy body weight through regular physical activity, making healthy food choices, and getting quality sleep will do more than just help you fit into your favorite fall jeans! In fact, these changes may help prevent diseases like cancer and help you live a longer, happier life.