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Research Spotlight:
The Science of Weight Loss

Couch PotatoNew Report: Being Active and Staying at a Healthy Weight
Could Prevent 3 out of 5 Endometrial Cancers in the U.S.

Three out of every five new cases of endometrial cancer in the U.S. could be prevented if women were more physically active and a healthier weight, a new analysis of the latest research from around the world has shown.

The American Institute for Cancer Research/World Cancer Research Fund International’s Continuous Update Project (CUP) found strong evidence that about 29,200 cases could be prevented every year in the U.S. if women were active for at least 30 minutes a day and maintained a healthy body weight (between 18.5 and 25 BMI).

In the U.S., only 43 percent of women meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Physical Activity Guidelines to be active for 150 minutes a week. (For cancer prevention, AICR recommends a slightly greater amount: at least 30 minutes of moderate activity a day every day, or 210 minutes per week). A majority of U.S. women (69 percent) are overweight or obese.

The new evidence also shows that drinking coffee can reduce the risk of endometrial cancer, although experts at AICR cautioned that there is not yet enough information to recommend drinking coffee to protect against the disease. There is no clear evidence that coffee has any effect on the risk of developing other cancers and the potential effects for other health conditions remain unknown.

Changing Goal May Make Weight Loss More Attainable

How many times have most of us said, "I'm going to lose 5 (or 10, or 15, etc.) pounds," only to be frustrated when those last few pounds stubbornly hang on. Well, researchers have a suggestion for us. If we make a goal "range" – say, 6-8 pounds, rather than precisely 7 pounds for example – we may stick to our healthy eating pattern longer, and ultimately be more successful.

A recent study reported that 45 women participating in a 10-week weight loss program were assigned to a weight loss goal that spanned either a high-low range or focused on a single number. At the end of the program, the women with the high-low range signed up for a second 10-week program at a slightly higher rate than the single number group.

Researchers suggest that we may be more interested in pursuing our goal when aiming for a goal range as opposed to a single number because the high end meets our needs for a challenge, while the low end makes the goal attainable.

Following AICR Recommendations Lowers Risk of Prostate Cancer

According to a new study that will appear in both the online and print editions of the Journal of Nutrition and Cancer, men have a lower risk of developing an aggressive form of prostate cancer by following at least four of AICR's recommendations for cancer prevention.

For the study, researchers gathered the diet and activity habits of approximately 2,200 men between the ages of 40 to 70. All the men had recently been diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer.

The researchers used a point scale to gauge how closely the men adhered to the eight relevant AICR recommendations for cancer prevention. Men who were moderately active for 60 minutes or more each day, for example, were given a score of one; those who were moderately active 30 to 60 minutes a day had a score of 0.5; and those who were the least active were assigned a 0.

Adherence to fewer than four of the eight recommendations predicted a 38 percent increased risk of aggressive tumors compared with adherence to four or more recommendations. The finding applied to both Black and White men, despite the higher risk of highly aggressive tumors among Black men. Each point in a patient's total adherence score linked to a 13 percent reduction in risk of aggressive cancer.

AICR’s report and its continuous updates show that eating a diet high in tomatoes, watermelon, and other foods containing lycopene reduces the risk of prostate cancer. A diet high in mushrooms and other foods containing selenium also lowers the risk.

Published on September 11, 2013

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