Lower your chances of cancer and other ailments like high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and obesity.
- Don’t smoke or use any form of tobacco. Tobacco causes cancer.
- Limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
- Get to and stay at a healthy weight throughout life. Avoid excess weight gain at all ages. For those who are overweight or obese, losing even a small amount has health benefits. All individuals who are overweight or obese should be encouraged to lose weight through a combination of a low-calorie diet and dynamic physical activity. Overweight or obesity is assessed by measuring body mass index (BMI), which is calculated as weight in kg/height in meters.
- For Indian population BMI 18.5 to 22.9 is normal, 23 to 24.9 is considered as overweight and BMI of >25 is considered as obesity. Waist circumference is also an important measurement of central obesity and it should be <90 cm for men and <80 cm for women.
- Another measure of central obesity is Waist Hip Ratio (WHR). Normal WHR is <0.85 for women and <0.95 for men.
- Adopt a physically active lifestyle. Limit sedentary behavior such as sitting, lying down, watching television for long period of time, or other forms of screen-based entertainment.
- Doing some form of physical activity is essential and can have many health benefits. Physical activity is a key determinant of energy expenditure. Regular exercise is important for promoting weight control or weight loss.
- Exercise regularly (moderate to vigorous) for 5-7 days per week; start slowly and work up gradually.
- At least 30 minutes (accumulated) of physical activities per day for cardiovascular disease protection.
- 45 minutes/ day (accumulated) for fitness.
- 60 minutes/ day (accumulated) for weight reduction. Discourage spending long hours in front of TV.
- Encourage outdoor activities like cycling, gardening etc Patients with uncontrolled hypertension (>200/>110 mm Hg), uncontrolled diabetes (FBS > 250mg/dl), diminished vision due to diabetic/hypertensive retinopathy or for other reasons, recent myocardial infarction/unstable angina or stroke (within 6 weeks), and with uncontrolled angina (class III or more) are advised not to go for physical exercise.
- Adequate sleep is very important.
- Keep to your meal routine: Try to eat at roughly at the same time each day, whether this is two or five times a day.
- Eat fewer calories: Choose reduced fat versions of foods such as dairy products, spreads and salad dressings where you can. Use them sparingly as some can still be high in fat.
- Pack a healthy snack: If you snack, choose a healthy option such as fresh fruit or low-calorie yogurts instead of chocolate or crisps.
- Look at the labels: Be careful about food claims. Check the fat and sugar content on food labels when shopping and preparing food.
- Caution with your portions: Don’t heap food on your plate (except vegetables). Think twice before having second helpings.
- Think about your drinks: Choose water or sugar-free squashes. Unsweetened fruit juice is high in natural sugar so limit it to 1 glass per day (200ml). Alcohol is high in calories. Try to limit the amount you drink.
- Focus on your food: Slow down. Don’t eat on the go or while watching TV. Eat at a table if possible.
- Don’t forget your 5 a day: Eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day (400g in total).
- Don’t eat a lot of processed meat and red meat and avoid frying or barbequing. Choose whole grains instead of refined grain products like bread, pasta, and pizza. Limit intake of other refined carbohydrate foods, like cakes, candy, sugar sweetened breakfast cereals, and other high sugar foods
Being obese or overweight increases the cancer risk. Obesity is linked with an increased risk of bowel, kidney, oesophageal and stomach cancers, as well as cancer of the womb and breast cancer in post-menopausal women. Obesity is one of the biggest known preventable causes of cancer for those who don’t smoke.
Know your body, be aware of any changes and contact your doctor if you notice anything unusual. Go for screening—it could save your life.