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Women Believing But Not Meeting Cancer Prevention Recommendations

Woman in front of open refrigeratorMore than half the women who think they are eating healthy and being physically active enough to prevent cancer are not meeting the cancer-preventive recommendations, suggests a new study published last week in the Journal of Women’s Health.

The study conducted a telephone survey of 800 women, asking them about their cancer lifestyle habits and beliefs about cancer prevention. Phone numbers were randomly selected and researchers attempted to match the demographics of the women with those of the US population.

According to the survey, more than half of the respondents overall did not meet the minimum recommendations for physical activity and/or for daily consumption of fruits and vegetables.

Among the women who believed they were eating a cancer-preventive diet, less than 10 percent of these respondents reported eating at least five servings of daily fruits and vegetables, which is the minimum recommended by AICR and the American Cancer Society. Among the women who believed they were doing enough activity to prevent cancer, less than 40 percent of the women reported doing moderate physical activity for 30 minutes five days per week. AICR recommends 30 minutes or more of daily moderate activity to reduce the risk of several cancers.

The study reveals a disconnect between what women believe they are doing to prevent cancer and what they are actually doing, the authors conclude. Public health messages should emphasize the importance of specific ‘‘doses’’ of recommended behaviors, the authors conclude.


Source: Jennifer Irvin Vidrine, Diana W. Stewart, Stephen C. Stuyck, Jo Ann Ward, Amanda K. Brown, Courtenay Smith, and David W. Wetter. "Lifestyle and Cancer Prevention in Women: Knowledge, Perceptions, and Compliance with Recommended Guidelines."  Journal of Women's Health. June 2013, 22(6): 487-493. doi:10.1089/jwh.2012.4015.

Published on June 24, 2013

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