Cutting Your Risk
CR Magazine: Collaberation – Results

Back to the Main Article

Nashville’s ‘Clean-Eating’ Crusader

After his cancer diagnosis, nutritionist Randy Pendergrass grew a passion for healthful, organic and locally grown foods—and he wants to tell you about them.

For More Information

Resources

We've provided resources for you to find more information about the stories in this issue.

Search
Search

By Stephen Ornes

Cutting Your Risk

By Stephen Ornes


Excess weight and poor diet are frequently cited—alongside smoking—as risk factors that can be modified to reduce cancer risk.

About 5 percent of all cancer diagnoses worldwide may be attributed to low fruit and vegetable consumption, according to a study published in the journal Lancet in 2005, while the American Cancer Society estimates that as many as one-third of American cancer deaths may be linked to eating a poor diet, being obese or overweight, and not doing enough physical activity. Meanwhile, a 2008 study, published in the journal Circulation, followed more than 72,000 women in the United States and found that a diet high in red meat, refined grains and sweets was associated with a 16 percent increase in risk of cancer mortality, compared with a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, fish and whole grains.

According to some public health researchers, a food-based intervention program may be one way to reduce cancer risk, especially in socioeconomically depressed areas where access to healthy food is often limited. The National Cancer Institute, for instance, is developing a nutrition-based curriculum called “5-a-Day Power Plus” for elementary schools, with the aim of increasing children’s daily intake of fresh produce. Implementation of the program among more than 400 students in urban St. Paul, Minn., yielded promising initial results: The kids who took the classes were observed eating about 50 percent more fruits and veggies in the school lunchroom than their classmates.