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Cancer: Prevention and Control Key

By Isabel M. Estrada Portales

African Americans have a higher risk of almost all diet-related diseases compared to Whites, including heart disease, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, obesity, and cancer. However, the good news is that we can control it!

Eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables as part of an active lifestyle can help lower the risk for all of these diseases. Yet, African Americans have the lowest fruit and vegetable consumption among all ethnic groups.

The statistics related to cancer are not very encouraging. The African American community has higher overall rates of new cancers and deaths from cancer than any other racial or ethnic group. Compared to White men, African American men are disproportionately affected by cancers of the lung, prostate, colon, rectum, and pancreas, among other types.

Scientists estimate that as many as 50 to 70 percent of cancer deaths in the U.S. are caused by human behaviors such as smoking and dietary choices. Some important steps in preventing cancer include maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, avoiding tobacco use, and eating a healthy diet that includes the right fats Exit Disclaimer and that is high in fruits and vegetables.

Research consistently shows that people whose diets are rich in fruits and vegetables (5 to 9 servings a day) have a lower risk of getting cancers of the lung, mouth, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, colon, and rectum. They are also less likely to get cancers of the breast, pancreas, ovaries, larynx, and bladder.

There is no specific fruit or vegetable responsible for reducing cancer risk: it is the regular consumption of a variety of fruits and vegetables that reduces risk.
An expert report, Food, Nutrition and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective, reviewed over 4,500 world-wide research studies and found that if people increased their fruit and vegetable consumption to at least five servings a day, cancer rates could be reduced by more than 20 percent.

Action steps:

Links

Eat 5 to 9 a Day: African American Health
http://www.5aday.gov/

Statistics on African Americans and cancer
http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/templates/content.aspx?ID=2826

Weight-loss and Nutrition Myths: How Much Do You Really Know?
http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/PDFs/Myths.pdf

Know you fats
http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=532 Exit Disclaimer


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Content Last Modified: 4/16/2007 9:05:00 AM
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