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Getting Fit: The New Barrier Against Cancer

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 By Dick Layman/Steve Powers, Public News Service - IA, Contact
May 21, 2008

Des Moines, IA – About 25 percent of Iowans are obese, and a recent study by the Iowa Department of Public Health (in 2005) touched on at least one reason -- half of all Iowa residents don't meet recommended levels of physical activity. And Iowa is not alone; the obesity epidemic is nationwide. Being overweight can affect health in a variety of ways.

In response, the American Cancer Society is kicking off its "Great American Get Active Challenge" to help people set and achieve exercise goals. Gretchen Tegeler with the ACS' Iowa Chapter says one of the benefits of being fit is reducing your cancer risk.

"Obesity does increase the risk of many types of cancer, including cancer of the pancreas, gallbladder, thyroid, ovary and cervix."

The Great American Web site (www.cancer.org/greatamericans), offers a variety of tools and resources to help people get started losing weight, she says.

"You can track progress; you can get daily hints and guidance on what kinds of things you can do to help you attain the goal that you set."

According to Tegeler, cancer risk has more to do with habits and lifestyle than genes, which gives people a lot of control over their cancer outlook, and other health-related risks, if they'll take the time to make fitness a priority.

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