Fostering multiple healthy lifestyle behaviors for primary prevention of cancer
UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center; Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine
Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Community Health | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Health Psychology | Public Health
The odds of developing cancer are increased by specific lifestyle behaviors (tobacco use, excess energy and alcohol intakes, low fruit and vegetable intake, physical inactivity, risky sexual behaviors, and inadequate sun protection) that are established risk factors for developing cancer. These behaviors are largely absent in childhood, emerge and tend to cluster over the life span, and show an increased prevalence among those disadvantaged by low education, low income, or minority status. Even though these risk behaviors are modifiable, few are diminishing in the population over time. We review the prevalence and population distribution of these behaviors and apply an ecological model to describe effective or promising healthy lifestyle interventions targeted to the individual, the sociocultural context, or environmental and policy influences. We suggest that implementing multiple health behavior change interventions across these levels could substantially reduce the prevalence of cancer and the burden it places on the public and the health care system. We note important still-unresolved questions about which behaviors can be intervened upon simultaneously in order to maximize positive behavioral synergies, minimize negative ones, and effectively engage underserved populations. We conclude that interprofessional collaboration is needed to appropriately determine and convey the value of primary prevention of cancer and other chronic diseases.
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Citation: Am Psychol. 2015 Feb-Mar;70(2):75-90. doi: 10.1037/a0038806. Link to article on publisher's site
Spring, Bonnie; King, Abby C.; Pagoto, Sherry L.; Van Horn, Linda; and Fisher, Jeffery D., "Fostering multiple healthy lifestyle behaviors for primary prevention of cancer" (2015). UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center Publications. 50.