You might be able to find help fighting breast cancer and other types of cancers at your local grocery store and fitness centers, according to the research findings of Marian L. Neuhouser, Ph.D, RD.
Dr. Neuhouser is a nutritional epidemiologist with a background in nutritional sciences. She is an investigator for Seattle's Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and her research is focused on lifestyle factors like nutrition and physical activity. Some factors may prevent breast and prostate cancer and improve survivorship in those diagnosed with cancer.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year, more than 200,000 American women are diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 American women will die from breast cancer.
Neuhouser's research has found that, for postmenopausal women in particular, being overweight or obese may increase the risk for breast cancer.
As Neuhouser explains, "After menopause, estrogens are synthesized by adipose tissue (used for the storage of fat). The more adipose that a woman has, the more estrogen that she will make. Adipose cells also synthesize inflammatory factors, which have been linked to breast cancer."
One of the most important things that a woman at risk for breast cancer can do, Neuhouser says, is to "maintain a healthy weight."
Given what the research indicates, Neuhouser says, "One of the most important things is that, if a woman is overweight or obese, she should be advised to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. Daily physical activity and following healthy eating habits with plentiful fruits and vegetables and minimal empty calories and fried foods will help achieve these goals."
Neuhouser says that, while it can be challenging to lose weight, "Small changes can add up and make a big difference."
When it comes to getting active, she says, "If someone is not used to physical activity, try a 5-10-minute walk and gradually increase the time.
"Having physical activity partners or walking partners always helps. I know my soccer team will be waiting for me on the field, so even if I am tired or busy, I still show up."
In and around Baldwin-Whitehall, there are a number of local sports teams (softball, soccer, volleyball, basketball, et al.)—many of them coed—who play regularly in the fall. Try posting an announcement on the Baldwin-Whitehall Patch to tell folks that you're looking for a team. Or, if you run a team, you could find players that way.
Meetup.com is another way to find local recreational opportunities.
As for area fitness centers, a B-W Patch poll published in April revealed that local readers chose Fitness 19 in Whitehall Borough's Caste Village as their favorite gym.
Click here to see other fitness centers included in that poll.
When it comes to food, Neuhouser says, "Start with making one new food change each week. Instead of eating two cookies, eat just one."
If you are concerned about your weight, Neuhouser suggests getting the support that you need by asking your doctor for "a referral to a reputable weight loss program."
For nutrition advice, Neuhouser recommends asking for a referral to a registered dietitian.
Locally, you can find support managing your weight through weekly Weight Watchers meetings at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church of South Hills along Maxwell Drive in Whitehall.
Click here to find other nearby Weight Watchers meetings.
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