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How to lower your overall cancer risk

Bowl of oatmeal

Achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

  • Be as lean as possible throughout life without being underweight.
  • Avoid excess weight gain at all ages. If you are overweight or obese, losing even a small amount of weight has health benefits and is a good place to start.
  • Get regular physical activity, and limit high-calorie foods and drinks.

Adopt a physically active lifestyle.

  • Get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week (or an equivalent combination) preferably spread throughout the week.
  • Limit sitting, lying down and screen time in general.

Eat a healthy diet, with an emphasis on plant-based foods.

  • Choose foods and beverages in amounts that help achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Limit processed meat and red meat.
  • Eat at least 2½ cups of vegetables and fruits each day.
  • Choose whole-grain instead of refined-grain products.
  • If you drink alcoholic beverages, limit consumption.
  • That means no more than one drink a day for women; two a day for men.

From the American Cancer Society Guidelines for Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention