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Family Nutrition
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Nutrition and Lifeskills for Missouri Families

Diet and Disease
Quick Facts for Teens
By: Barbara Willenberg, MS, Associate State Nutrition Specialist, Family Nutrition Education Program

What's it all about? 

  • Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. 
  • There are many types of cancer, but all cancers start with a single abnormal cell. Abnormal cells multiply quickly. They spread to other parts of the body, invading healthy body tissue and organs. 
  • Almost half of all cancer deaths can be prevented with early detection and treatment.

Why worry now, I'm a teenager?

  • Good question. Many types of cancer are related to our lifestyle and teens are forming lifestyle habits they will keep for life-not all are healthy! 
  • It's much easier not to start an unhealthy habit, like smoking, than it is to break it later in life. 
  • It's also easier to form a healthy habit, like using sunscreen, earlier in life before skin has been damaged.

What causes my risk for cancer? 

  • There are many causes for cancer including smoking, the foods we eat, viruses chemicals, obesity and exposure to sun. 
  • As much as one-third of cancer deaths may relate to how we eat. 
  • Some cancers seem to run in families-it is unclear if the link is genetic or a similar lifestyle.

What can I do to prevent cancer? 

  • Eat your veggies and fruits-at least 5 servings a day. They contain nutrients called antioxidants (like beta carotene and vitamin C) which protect body cells from cancer. 
  • Veggies and fruits also contain plant chemicals which fight cancer-called phytochemicals. 
  • Fiber-rich foods like whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables with their skin and seeds protect you against colon cancer. 
  • Limit your fat by drinking skim or 1 percent milk, eating lean cuts of meat and taking the skin off chicken and turkey. 
  • Some forms of cancer are linked to obesity, so maintain a healthy weight by getting about 30 minutes of physical activity every day. 
  • Don't smoke. 
  • To prevent skin cancer, limit your exposure to sun and use sun-block of at least 15 SPF.

Did you notice????

We can control many of the things that cause cancer,
like what we eat, smoking and using sunscreen.



Other Diet and Disease Educational Support Materials:
Cancer  Diabetes  Heart Disease  Hypertension 
Osteoporosis  Phytochemicals


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Last updated: 12/02/15