Are poor diet and cancer linked?


According to the American Cancer Society, research has shown that poor diet and not being physically active are two key factors that can increase a person’s cancer risk. These are two risk factors people can do something about.

The World Cancer Research Fund estimates that about 20 percent of all cancers diagnosed in the United States are related to body fatness, physical inactivity, excess alcohol consumption and/or poor nutrition.

Controlling weight is not only important for decreasing your risk for several cancers, but it will also reduce the risk of other chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.

It is important to talk to a doctor about what is a healthy weight for each person and to have a body mass index less than 25. This number can be calculated by using an online BMI calculator.

Eating healthier and less portions is a good way to take steps toward improving one’s diet but it is also important to get enough physical activity. Adults are supposed to get 30 minutes of physical activity per day for five days a week. This can be done at one time or it can be done throughout the entire day, breaking it out into six five-minute intervals. The Extension Office has many programs and lots of information on how to start eating well. Anyone interested in learning more about which foods are healthier, can contact the local extension office.

March is National Colon Health Awareness Month, and people still have time to register for the “Hope for the Scope” event to promote colon cancer awareness from 5:30 - 7 p.m. Thursday, March 21 at Piedmont Community College, Room S-100. There will be a panel discussion with local surgeons and gastroenterologists as well as some stories from people in the community affected by colon cancer. There will be some colon-healthy food, door prizes and educational booths. It is free to attend but participants must RSVP by March 15 by contacting LeighAnn Creson at 336-597-2204, ext. 2277.

Try the following recipe courtesy of North Dakota State University Extension at For more information on Food for Thought programs and recipes, check us out online at or email

Bean Enchiladas

Serves 8 (~1/2 enchilada)

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 onion, diced

1- 15oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

1- 15oz. can refried beans

1 cup sour cream, fat-free

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided

1 tsp cumin

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 cup enchilada sauce

4 10-inch whole wheat tortillas

Preheat oven to 350 F. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions to skillet and sauté until tender and translucent, about two minutes. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, add beans, sour cream, cilantro, jalapeno, cumin, cooled onions, ½ c. shredded cheddar cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine. Stuff each tortilla with bean filling and roll. Place each enchilada in a baking dish. Pour enchilada sauce on top of enchiladas. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the enchiladas. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and enchiladas are heated through. Garnish with cilantro. Nutritional information: 260 calories, 11g fat, 30g carbs, 3g fiber, 270mg sodium


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