Issue 66 — March 23, 2011

Also in this issue:

  1. In Brief: Walking for Your Dog
  2. Activity Reduces Risk of Early Colon Cancer Signs
  3. Diabetes Ups Risk of Early Death
  4. Cancer Survivors on the Rise

Science in the Spotlight: Comparing Guidelines 

USDA Dietary Guidelines 2010 cover and AICR Expert Report coverOn January 31, the federal government released their new dietary guidelines, a set of evidence-based recommendations updated every five years that is at the root of all federal-based nutrition programs. How do the new 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans overlap with AICR's evidence-based Guidelines for Cancer Prevention?*

With more than one-third of children and two-thirds of adults in the United States overweight or obese, the new dietary guidelines place a strong emphasis on weight management. AICR's expert report found that maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important lifestyle-related risk factors for cancer prevention.

The guidelines focus on increasing foods people eat that come from plants, such as vegetables and fruits. These guidelines echo many of AICR's recommendations.

Here are some highlights.

The Guidelines
Government Dietary Guidelines
AICR Guidelines for Cancer Prevention
An Emphasis on Obesity

Prevent and/or reduce overweight and obesity through improved eating and physical activity behaviors.

Control total calorie intake to manage body weight. For people who are overweight or obese, this will mean consuming fewer calories from foods and beverages

Be as lean as possible without becoming underweight.

Research shows that excess body fat is a cause of cancers of the colorectum, esophagus, endometrium, kidney, pancreas and post-menopausal breast and probably gallbladder.

AICR estimates that approximately 100,000 cases of cancer occurring in the US every year can be attributed to excess body fat.**

Focusing on Foods

Reduce the intake of calories from solid fats and added sugars.

Avoid sugary drinks. The expert report found that regularly consuming sugary drinks contributes to weight gain
Limit the consumption of foods that contain refined grains, especially refined grain foods that contain solid fats, added sugars, and sodium. Limit consumption of energy-dense foods (particularly processed foods high in added sugar, or low in fiber, or high in fat).
Choose a variety of protein foods, which include seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds. Limit consumption of red meats (such as beef, pork and lamb) to no more than 18 oz. per week and avoid processed meat to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
Increase vegetable and fruit intake. Eat more of a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes such as beans.
Eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark-green and red and orange vegetables and beans and peas, and vitamin C-rich foods. Research shows that vegetables and fruits probably protect against a range of cancers, including mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, stomach, lung, pancreas and prostate.
Drinking Alcohol
If alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation–up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. If consumed at all, limit alcoholic drinks to 2 for men and 1 for women a day. Alcohol is linked to increasing the risk of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus and breast, colorectal, and liver.
Salt and Sodium

For people over age 50, African Americans, and those who have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease: 1,500 mg. or less of sodium per day.

For everyone else, 2,300 mg or less per day. (Average sodium intake is 3,400 mg per day.)

Limit consumption of salty foods and foods processed with salt.

The expert report found that salt and salt-preserved foods probably increase the chance of developing stomach cancer.

Get Active
Increase physical activity and reduce time spent in sedentary behaviors. Be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day.

graphic New American PlatePlant-Based, Plate-Based

In order to put healthy, cancer-protective recommendations into action, AICR has developed a visual plate approach: when preparing meals, aim to fill at least two-thirds of your plate with vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans, and one-third or less with fish, poultry or meat.

This approach was developed by AICR over a decade ago and grows out of the organization's evidence-based advice for lowering cancer risk.

*Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective, was cited throughout the government's guidelines.

**Estimates are calculated by combining the latest US cancer incidence data with the conclusions of the AICR/WCRF report, Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention.

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Woman Walking DogIn Brief: Walking for Your Dog

Owning a dog can lead to getting more walking and more physical activity overall, suggests a new study that found dog owners were 69 percent more likely to do any physical activity – such as running, golf or gardening – compared to non-dog owners. And dog owners who walked their pet walked about an hour more per week compared to non-dog walkers.

The study took place in Michigan, where researchers used data from about 5,900 residents who were asked about their walking and overall activity habits.

About two-thirds of the dog owners walked their dog for at least 10 minutes at a time. Dog walkers on median spent 85 minutes walking per week with slightly over a quarter of the owners walking for at least 150 minutes per week, the amount of activity recommended by the government. (AICR recommends 30 minutes of daily moderate activity for cancer prevention.)

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Source: Reeves MJ, Rafferty AP, Miller CE, Lyon-Callo SK. "The Impact of Dog Walking on Leisure-Time Physical Activity: Results From a Population-Based Survey of Michigan Adults." Journal of Physical Activity and Health 2011, 8: 3


Research Roundup


Activity Reduces Risk of Early Colon Cancer Signs

colorectal cancer siteActive people are less likely to develop abnormal growths in their colon – which can develop into colon cancer – compared to their non-active counterparts, finds a new analysis of the research that supports the documented role of physical activity in preventing colon cancer.

The study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, pooled data from the 20 published studies that examined the link between physical activity and colon polyps or adenomas. Polyps are abnormal tissue growths, most of which are non-cancerous. Colon adenomas are one type of polyp that can develop into cancer. The studies covered many types of physical activity, including leisure and total activity.

Overall, the analysis found that people who were the most active were 16 percent less likely to develop colon polyps than those who were the least active, and 30 percent less likely to develop large or advanced polyps. Larger polyps are more likely to develop into cancer. Risk reductions were similar for both men and women.

Source: Wolin KY, Yan Y, Colditz GA. "Physical activity and risk of colon adenoma: a meta-analysis." Br J Cancer. 2011 Mar 1;104(5):882-5.

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Diabetes Ups Risk of Early Death

InsulinResearch has already found that people with diabetes have an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer. Now a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that having type 2 diabetes increases the risk of premature death from cancer and many other health disorders.

With your gernerous support, AICR funds reserach in diet, physical activity and weight management. Please donate now.Compared to people without diabetes, people with diabetes had an 80 percent higher risk of an early death, the study found. A 50-year-old with diabetes died, on average, six years earlier than a counterpart without the disorder.

In the study, a large team of researchers analyzed data from 97 studies that totaled 820,900 participants. The people with diabetes as compared to those without had a 25 percent higher risk of premature death from several types of cancer, including pancreatic, colorectal, lung, bladder, and breast.

The risk of dying from vascular disease – any condition affecting the circulatory system – was over double in people with diabetes than those without. People with diabetes were also at a higher risk of premature death from a host of other ills, including kidney disease, pneumonia, mental disease and nervous-system disorders. The risk of premature death was also linked with high blood sugar, starting at levels over 100 mg per deciliter. In general, up to 100 mg per deciliter are considered normal.

Source: Emerging Risk Factors Collaboration. "Diabetes mellitus, fasting glucose, and risk of cause-specific death." N Engl J Med. 2011 Mar 3;364(9):829-41.

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Cancer Survivors on the Rise

Survivor Chart thumbnail

Click on thumbnail for full sized chart

The number of cancer survivors in the United States has grown rapidly over the last several decades, with approximately one of every 26 Americans a cancer survivor, according to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

The report calculated that the number of cancer survivors in the United States increased to 11.7 million in 2007. There were 3 million cancer survivors in 1971 and 9.8 million in 2001.

In order to update the last set of data, published in 2004, NCI and CDC analyzed cancer incidence and follow-up information from nine Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) programs to estimate the number of persons in the United States ever diagnosed with cancer who were alive on January 1, 2007.

The report attributes the rising numbers of cancer survivors to advances in early detection and treatment, along with an aging US population.

Highlights of the findings include:

  • Breast cancer survivors are the largest group of cancer survivors (22 percent), followed by prostate cancer survivors (19 percent) and colorectal cancer survivors (10 percent).
  • An estimated 65% of cancer survivors had lived five or more years after their diagnosis of cancer.
  • Almost 60% of survivors were ages 65 or older.
  • Women make up 54 percent of cancer survivors.

Source: Altekruse SF, Kosary CL, Krapcho M, et al., eds. SEER cancer statistics review, 1975-2007. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute; 2010 (based on November 2009 data submission).

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