One in three American women will develop some form of cancer, health statistics show, but a new survey finds most don’t make critical lifestyle choices recommended by the American Cancer Society to reduce their risk and prevent the disease.
In fact, about half of American women who participated in the survey fail to meet the minimum recommendations for physical activity and/or for daily consumption of fruits and vegetables.
The survey, published in the Journal of Women's Health, was designed to gauge how women view the connection between cancer and diet and exercise. Pollsters also sought to determine whether they believe they are engaging in healthy behaviors, and if their diet and exercise choices really meet the minimum recommendations.
The results — reported by Jennifer Irvine Vidrine and colleagues from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Prevention Magazine — indicated that less than 10 percent of the women who said they eat a healthy diet actually met the ACS minimum dietary guidelines of two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables per day. What’s more, less than 40 percent of the women who said they engage in regular physical activity met the ACS minimum recommendations of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days per week.
Overall, more than half of the women failed to meet the minimum recommendations for physical activity and/or for daily consumption of fruits and vegetables. Those with less education and racial/ethnic minorities had greater discrepancies between beliefs and behavior.
"The results of this study suggest that we need to help women find practical ways to integrate adequate levels of cancer prevention behaviors into their daily lives," said Susan G. Kornstein, M.D., editor-in-chief of Journal of Women's Health, and president of the Academy of Women's Health.
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