Designed and created by Guideline Central in participation with the American Cancer Society
Diet and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention
Patient Guideline Summary
Publication Date: June 1, 2020
Last Updated: November 29, 2023
This patient summary means to discuss key recommendations from the American Cancer Society for diet and physical activity for cancer prevention. It is limited to adults 18 years of age and older and should not be used as a reference for children.
- The elements of lifestyle include diet, exercise, general pattern of activity, habits, indeed everything you consume and everything you do and do not do.
- This patient summary focuses on lifestyle habits that reduce the risk of cancer.
- Weight: Maintain your weight within the healthy range for your height.
- Your healthcare provider or standard tables can identify that range.
- Be physically active.
- Adults should engage in 150-300 min of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, or 75-150 min of vigorous-intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination; achieving or exceeding the upper limit of 300 min is optimal.
- Children and adolescents should engage in at least one hour of moderate- or vigorous-intensity activity each day.
- Limit sedentary behavior, such as sitting, lying down, and watching television, and other forms of screen-based entertainment.
- Follow a healthy eating pattern at all ages.
- A healthy eating pattern includes:
- Foods that are high in nutrients in amounts that help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight
- Vegetables—dark green, red, and orange, fiber-rich legumes (beans and peas), and others
- Fruits, especially whole fruits with a variety of colors; and
- Whole grains
- A healthy eating pattern limits or does not include:
- Red and processed meats
- Sugar-sweetened beverages
- Highly processed foods and refined grain products.
- It is best not to drink alcohol.
- If you choose to drink alcohol, you should limit your consumption to no more than 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men.
Rock CL, Thomson C, Gansler T, Gapstur SM, McCullough ML, Patel AV, Andrews KS, Bandera EV, Spees CK, Robien K, Hartman S, Sullivan K, Grant BL, Hamilton KK, Kushi LH, Caan BJ, Kibbe D, Black JD, Wiedt TL, McMahon C, Sloan K, Doyle C. American Cancer Society guideline for diet and physical activity for cancer prevention. CA Cancer J Clin. 2020 Jul;70(4):245-271. doi: 10.3322/caac.21591. Epub 2020 Jun 9. PMID: 32515498.
The information in this patient summary should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.