For Immediate Release:
December 18, 2012
AICR Communications Department
SuperKids Nutrition Media
New Cancer Prevention Campaign Starts with Kids
WASHINGTON, DC — Parents know to shield their children against sunburn and skin cancer by using sunscreen. Now the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and SuperKids Nutrition have launched a new campaign to help parents shield kids from many other cancers by showing them how healthy foods can taste great – and letting them know that moving more can be fun!
The Healthy Kids Today – Prevent Cancer Tomorrow campaign motivates parents and kids to take a Cancer Prevention Pledge to create a healthy future and become part of the movement to prevent 1 out of every 3 cancers.
We know parents have the power to influence their kids to grow up healthy and strong. Kicking off with a campaign alert for parents and a preview of fun, educational activities for kids, our cancer prevention pledge leads families to take small steps towards adopting healthier eating and physical activity habits that add up to lower risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Our goal is to support parents so their kids can grow up to become healthy, active, informed adults.
“It’s never too early to start protecting your family from cancer,” said AICR Registered Dietitian Alice Bender. “When families eat nutritious foods and are active together, you’re teaching them healthy habits that help protect them from many kinds of cancer later in life.”
A Window of Opportunity
And it’s not just about long-term habits. Growing evidence suggests that childhood represents a special “window of opportunity” when everyday choices carry extra importance. During times of rapid growth like childhood and adolescence, our bodies’ cells turn over quickly, making kids particularly sensitive to the effects of diet and activity. A healthy diet and regular exercise can provide protection, but poor diet and inactivity can cause the kind of cellular damage that, over time, may increase risk for cancer and other diseases later on.
“By joining forces with AICR, we can engage families to eat foods now that lower their risk of many cancers later. It gives parents the power to influence their children not just for healthy living now, but for life,” says Melissa Halas-Liang, MA, RD, CDE, founder of SuperKids Nutrition Inc.
AICR research shows that if we learn how to eat smarter, move more and stay lean, about 1/3 of the cases of major cancers in the U.S. can be avoided. That’s nearly 400,000 cases every year that parents could help start preventing today by taking the Healthy Kids Today – Prevent Cancer Tomorrow pledge.
Healthy Habits Shown to Lower Risk
By eating plenty of plant foods – vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans – kids absorb natural compounds called “phytochemicals” that help protect the body’s cells against cancer. Plant foods also provide fiber as well as antioxidant vitamins and minerals, all of which research strongly links to lower cancer risk. Plant foods are also low in calories as long as they are not processed with added fats and sugars.
Cancer risk also decreases when people get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day at any age. Being inactive, however, such as sitting in front of a computer or television many hours each day can increase cancer risk, regardless of a person’s weight.
When it comes to cancer risk, weight is a major risk factor. Excess body fat causes inflammation, which damages cells and tissues. Over time, this kind of damage makes cancer more likely, says AICR. And currently, one in three kids in the U.S. is overweight or obese.
Eating healthily and being physically active both contribute to a healthy body weight. The Healthy Kids Today – Prevent Cancer Tomorrow campaign gives parents free toolkits so they can build healthy, cancer-fighting habits at home.
Take The Pledge: www.aicr.org/healthykids
Small steps can result in big rewards. Take the pledge today to make small changes that decrease the risk of cancer in your family. Then, beginning in January, pledge to six monthly goals, using free toolkits from SuperKids Nutrition and AICR, to help stop preventable cancers from affecting your family:
- Put more green and orange vegetables into your family meals.
- Try one new whole grain and one new kind of bean each week.
- Try going meatless one night a week – plant based meals are an inexpensive and easy way to get the family eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans.
- Get active as a family – swap 1/2 hour of TV time for 1/2 hour of physical activity time together each day.
Shielding Kids from Cancer
Using a shield logo, the campaign will provide a series of free toolkits designed to give parents step-by-step help with eating healthy and fun family activities, reviewed by health professionals.
Toolkit features include:
- Quick, easy, tasty and kid-approved food combos and snacks for busy schedules
- Ways to make healthy foods appealing using colors, activities and yummy healthy recipes
- Budget-wise tips for shopping and meals
- Ideas for playing with your child instead of watching TV
- Fun facts, printable activities, crafts, games and cartoon characters.
The toolkits will be available starting January 2013 at www.aicr.org/healthykids.
About the Healthy Kids Today – Prevent Cancer Tomorrow partners:
SuperKids Nutrition Inc. was founded in August 2006 to save the world one healthy food at a time™. We provide nutrition content, learning activities and curriculum featuring the Super Crew® on our website and to over 3,000 schools in 43 states. SuperKids Nutrition empowers children and families to reach their full potential and accomplish their goals through good health. We are the ultimate resource for parents, educators and health care professionals to become more knowledgeable about nutrition and enable families and children to make healthy choices every day.
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters cancer prevention and survivorship through healthy diets, physical activity and body weight. About one-third of cases of the most common cancers could be prevented this way. By raising awareness of this message, we hope that many thousands of lives will be saved. The education and research programs of AICR are funded almost entirely by donations from the public. We fund cutting edge cancer research and help people make choices that reduce their chances of developing cancer. We are part of a global network of charities that are committed to preventing cancer.