Couch Potatoes Court Cancer   

Couch Potatoes Court Cancer


As many as 180,000 Americans each year will die of cancers related to obesity and lack of activity, according to the American Cancer Society. Overweight people are particularly at risk for colon and breast cancer, researchers say.

"The environment in which we live-where we work, where we play, where we hang out-has really become a barrier in terms of making choices, "says Colleen Doyle, director of nutrition and physical activity for the cancer society. "It's now harder for people to walk places or to find safe places to be active. The environment really has an Impact on the kind of Individual choices we make. We need walking paths, bike lanes, buses that have racks for bikes."

"Obesity and inactivity are like our version of the infectious diseases of 100 years ago," says Dr. Anne McTiernan, director of the Prevention Studies Clinic at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and a member of the committee that wrote the cancer society guidelines.

"At least 35 percent of all cancer deaths may be related to [being] overweight and [an inherent] lack of activity," she says. "In order to help people, we are really recommending that communities get involved."

Of course, individuals can still make choices that lead to healthier living. Eat better and exercise more. That means eating at least five servings a day of fruit and vegetables and getting moderate exercise for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

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