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Behaviors to Beat Cancer

An estimated one-third of all cancers may be attributable to excess body fat – including cancers of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, reproductive organs, urinary tract, blood, bone, and thyroid. Nour Makarem, from New York University (New York, USA), and colleagues analyzed medical and dietary data collected on 2,983 men and women enrolled in the Framingham Heart Study. To ascertain the relationship between the cancer prevention recommendations and cancer incidence, the researchers created a seven-point score based on the recommendations for body fat, physical activity, foods that promote weight gain, plant foods, animal foods, alcohol consumption, and food preparation and processing. Whereas the overall score did not associate with obesity-related cancer risk, the team did observe that when score components were evaluated separately, two different measures emerged as strong predictors of cancer risk.

Specifically, the adherence to alcohol recommendations – limiting alcoholic drinks to two for men and one for women a day — was protective against obesity-related cancers combined and against breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers. In addition, among participants who consume starchy vegetables, eating sufficient non-starchy plant foods (fruits, vegetables, and legumes) was associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer.

The study authors conclude that: “Lower alcohol consumption and a plant-based diet consistent with the cancer prevention guidelines were associated with reduced risk of obesity-related cancers in this population.”

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Source: Nour Makarem, Yong Lin, Elisa V. Bandera, Paul F. Jacques, Niyati Parekh. “Concordance with World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) guidelines for cancer prevention and obesity-related cancer risk in the Framingham Offspring cohort (1991–2008).” Cancer Causes & Control, 6 Jan. 2015.

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