Today, experts at the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) welcomed a new set of guidelines on physical activity from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Included in the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans is specific acknowledgment that regular activity lowers risk for colon, breast and other cancers.

"It's clearer than ever that regular physical activity plays a central role in cancer prevention, and we at AICR are pleased to see the U.S. government officially recognize this fact in such a high-profile manner," said AICR Director of Research Susan Higginbotham, Ph.D., R.D.

The government's new 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans urge adult Americans to perform:

- 2 and ½ hours of moderate physical activity a week, or
- 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous aerobic physical activity per week, or
- an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous activity, and
- muscle-strengthening exercises 2 or more times per week.

These new Guidelines essentially mirror the AICR Guideline for Cancer Prevention that pertains to physical activity: Be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day.

That AICR advice emerges from a massive expert report released last November that examined over 7000 studies on all aspects of diet, physical activity and weight management in relation to cancer risk.

One of the ten recommendations made by the AICR expert panel offered specific advice on physical activity: "Be moderately active, equivalent to brisk walking, for at least 30 minutes a day. As fitness improves, aim for 60 minutes or more of moderate activity or 30 minutes or more of vigorous activity every day."

Government, Experts Agree: More Activity is Better

Higginbotham notes that some variation in wording and emphasis between the new government Guidelines and AICR's advice is inevitable, given that the HHS Guidelines address themselves to the scientific evidence on all health benefits associated with physical activity, while AICR's recommendations specifically pertain to cancer risk.

"More important than where we differ is where we agree," Higginbotham said. "And when you put these new government Guidelines alongside the AICR expert report, the take home message is clear: Just moving more is one of the most important things you can do to lower your risk for cancer and other diseases."

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $86 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, aicr. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.

American Institute for Cancer Research

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