Physical Activity and Nutrition in Women
Physical activity in the form of exercise reduces risk of breast cancer, as stated by the American Cancer Society (2005). The same report estimates that 20 to 30 percent of most common cancers, such as breast, prostate, colon, kidney, and uterine cancers, may be related to overweight and/or physical inactivity. Through scientific evidence, physical activity and nutrition are major risk factors of cancer and contribute to the obesity epidemic.
Using data collected in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (conducted from 1971 to 1975), and its first follow-up (1982 to 1984), breast cancer rates of active women were compared with those of less active women. Focusing on the group of women who were free from breast cancer at the time of the first follow-up, researchers classified over 6,000 women as having consistently low, moderate, or high levels of physical activity.
They found that women 50 and over with high levels of physical activity had a 67 percent lower breast cancer risk than did women of the same age who had consistently low levels of activity. High physical activity levels were associated with a significant reduction in risk for women 50 and over, regardless of weight history, but they were not linked to lower risk for women younger than 50.
Authors of a report published in the September issue of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise say that their study — the first to look at lifetime physical activity and to combine both recreational and occupational activity — suggests that women who lead active lifestyles now may have lower breast cancer rates down the road.
After matching over 1,200 breast cancer patients with breast-cancer-free women, researchers from the University of Alberta and the Alberta Cancer Board found that, while there was no association between breast cancer risk and physical activity for premenopausal women, active postmenopausal women were shown to have significantly lower risk. Compared with those who had the lowest levels of physical activity, the most active postmenopausal women had a 30 percent lower risk.
In addition, the researchers reported that, for breast cancer protection, frequency and duration of activity were more important than the activity's intensity. Household activity and occupational activity were linked to the greatest reduction in risk. This goes to prove that you don't need to run a marathon to exercise your body. Next time you clean, just think, you're not only clearing your space, but also doing your body good.
Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children
In addressing nutrition in children, Ammerman (2001) suggests that consumption of five or more daily servings of vegetables and fruit is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer at many sites. The Mayo Clinic (2005) also states “research suggests that about 30 percent of cancers are related to issues of nutrition, including obesity.” Nutrition, in combination with physical activity, works to reduce risks of cancer and other chronic diseases