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Eat Right to Take a Bite out of Cancer

August 20, 2009

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Taking a bite out of cancer is the goal of The Great American Eat Right Challenge from the American Cancer Society. The new campaign notes that 34 percent of Americans are overweight and points out that those extra pounds can raise the risk of some cancers.

With kids going off to school and adults getting busier, eating healthy is crucial to staying well, says Denise Kolba, director of Health Partnerships for American Cancer Society South Dakota. The research is clear that one-third of cancer deaths can be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight, staying physically active and adopting healthy eating habits, she adds.

"That really amounts to about 187,000 lives that could be saved if people took up the challenge and changed choices that they make. We know there's no question that, if you do not smoke, the most important lifestyle goal to work on toward reducing your cancer risk is to maintain a healthy weight."

Kolba says good nutrition choices are important in a nation that's on-the-go, eating out and consuming upwards of 815 billion calories daily - 200 billion more than are needed. She is encouraged, though, that more and more restaurants are offering healthy food options on their menus.

"The apple snacks within the snack packs kids get are a good thing. And all of the restaurants are offering 'value meals,' which are smaller portions - they aren't the huge super-size meals. You can pick and choose pieces that would be a much healthier choice, and then add salads or apples or whatever other healthy foods they may be able to offer to you."

Kolba says a healthy lifestyle doesn't mean giving up your favorite foods, but rather eating in moderation to balance the caloric intake. One of the best ways to reduce calories and cancer risk, she suggests, is by introducing more fruits and vegetables into the diet.

To make healthy eating easier, the American Cancer Society Eat Right website at offers video clips and tools for quick, healthy meals.

David Law, Public News Service - SD