Healthy Living Cuts Cancer Risk

Regular exercise and a healthy diet could cut the risk of cancer by as much as 45 percent! That promising new research comes from a study led by Lindsay Kohler, a doctoral student in epidemiology at the University of Arizona’s Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.


Healthy living is particularly effective in preventing breast, endometrial and colon cancer, Kohler and her colleagues found.

Living right can reduce risk of breast cancer by 19 percent to 60 percent, endometrial cancer by 23 percent to 60 percent, and colon cancer in men and women by 27 percent to 52 percent, they reported.

“Those cancers have been shown in other studies to be related to obesity,” Kohler said. “Most of these guidelines are going to help prevent you from being obese.”

The American Cancer Society guidelines on nutrition and physical activity are listed on the organization’s website.

Achieve and maintain a healthy weight throughout life

  • Be as lean as possible throughout life without being underweight.
  • Avoid excess weight gain at all ages. For those who are overweight or obese, losing even a small amount of weight has health benefits and is a good place to start.
  • Get regular physical activity and limit intake of high-calorie foods and drinks as keys to help maintain a healthy weight.

Be physically active

  • Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week (or a combination of these), preferably spread throughout the week.
  • Children and teens should get at least 1 hour of moderate or vigorous intensity activity each day, with vigorous activity on at least 3 days each week.
  • Limit sedentary behavior such as sitting, lying down, watching TV, and other forms of screen-based entertainment.
  • Doing some physical activity above usual activities, no matter what one’s level of activity, can have many health benefits.


According to WebMD, people who follow “those prevention guidelines for diet and activity were up to 61 percent less likely to die from cancer, the researchers reported.”

NewsMax Health added, “Speaking on the findings, Kohler, one of the authors of the study, commented that “Behaviors such as poor diet choices, physical inactivity, excess alcohol consumption and unhealthy body weight could account for more than 20 percent of cancer cases, and could, therefore, be prevented with lifestyle modifications.”

We’re excited that someone from Arizona is leading a research project that could change the way people think about cancer. And if we can start to change the way people think about major health issues, we’ll be one step closer to our long-term goal of making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

Read more: Healthy Living Cuts Cancer Risk Up to Two Thirds
“Overall, we saw there is quite a reduction in getting cancer or dying from cancer if you follow [cancer-prevention] guidelines,” said lead researcher Lindsay Kohler

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