Following a recommended dietary and lifestyle schedule can prevent post-menopausal women from developing a cancer.
The study, published in the July issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, has revealed that out of the 29,564 women, observed, those who had a regular compliance to the schedule for over a 13-year period showed the best outcomes.
On the contrary, those women who followed one or none of the nine recommended guidelines had a 35 percent higher risk of developing cancer and a 42 percent greater risk of dying from cancer than women who adhered to at least six of the recommendations considered for the study.
"Our study suggests that older women may be able to have a fairly large impact on their cancer risk by not smoking, controlling body weight, exercising and eating a healthy, balanced diet. Besides having an impact for individuals, following these recommendations would also have a large impact on reducing cancer in our communities as a whole" James R. Cerhan, associate professor of epidemiology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minn, said.
The recommendations which Dr. Cerhan's team considered include:
1 Having maximum body mass index less than 25 kg/m2.
2 Having gained no more than 11 pounds since age 18.
3 Engaging in daily moderate and weekly vigorous physical activity.
4 Eating of 5 or more servings of vegetables and fruit daily.
5 Consuming more than 400 grams (about 14 ounces) of complex carbohydrate per day.
6 Limiting alcohol intake to less than 14 grams per day.
7 Limiting red meat consumption to less than 80 grams per day.
8 Limiting daily consumption of fat to no more than 30 per cent of total caloric intake.
9 Limiting use of sodium to less than 2,400 milligrams per day.
The researchers also examined the impact of smoking on the chances of developing cancer and found that, no smoking along with, adherence to these guidelines reduced cancer risks by 31 per cent.
Dr. Cerhan noted that the study examined the self-reported dietary and lifestyle habits of women, but did not evaluate the effect that changes to improved, recommended diets would have on the risk of cancer incidence and mortality, which would need to be tested in a randomized clinical trial.