Published on February 15, 2016

February is (Also) Cancer Prevention Month

Excercise class

Cancer is among the leading causes of death around worldwide. The American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR) estimates that 1/3 of the most common cancers in the U.S. could be prevented through healthy eating, exercising and maintaining a normal body weight. This equates to about 374,000 cases of cancer that could be avoided every year. The most common forms of cancer in Johnston County are breast, lung and colorectal. These are also three types that are shown to be preventable through lifestyle factors.

So, what can YOU do to help prevent cancer? The AICR has established behaviors and life style recommendations that have been proven to reduce your risk of cancer. These include:

  1. Do not smoke or chew tobacco.
  2. Maintain a healthy weight. Visit this website to determine your BMI.
  3. Be physically active for at least 30 minutes every day. Limit sedentary habits.
  4. Avoid sugary drinks.
  5. Limit consumption of processed, energy-dense foods.
  6. Eat more plant foods – choose of a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, legumes and nuts/seeds.
  7. Limit consumption of red meats(such as beef, pork and lamb) and avoid processed meats (deli meats, bologna, bacon, sausage, etc).
  8. If consumed at all, limit alcoholic drinks to 2 per day for men and 1 daily for women.
  9. Limit consumption of salty foods and foods processed with salt (sodium).
  10. Don’t use dietary or herbal supplements to protect against cancer.
  11. Breastfeed: It is best for mothers to breastfeed exclusively for up to 6 months and then add supplemental foods.
  12. After treatment, cancer survivors should follow the recommendations for cancer prevention.

Interestingly, these same recommendations are shown to help prevent and treat other common health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, kidney diseases and obesity. Start with a small change, and you may notice bigger changes occur with time. You may notice more energy, better quality of sleep, less stress, fewer cravings for unhealthy foods, get sick less often and overall feel better.

A healthy, active life can do so much for you! If you have any questions or would like to meet with a Registered Dietitian to discuss ways to improve your diet and health, call 934-8171 ext. 6229 for more information.

Have a happy and healthy February!

Louisa Sherrill, MS, RD, LDN
Clinical Dietitian for Johnston Health – Smithfield 

Healthy Snack Recipe for Kale Chips

Kale lettuce leaf.

1 lb Fresh Kale
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/4 teaspoon Salt
4 cloves of Fresh Garlic


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Rinse and tear kale from stems. Pat kale dry. Transfer to a large Ziploc Bag.
  3. Add olive oil, salt, and garlic to bag. Toss the mixture in the bag, coating all the kale leaves.
  4. Place kale leaves on baking sheets, making sure leaves do not overlap.
  5. Bake until most leaves are crisp but not burned – switching the pans back to front and top to bottom halfway through 8 to 12 minutes total.

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Call 919-938-6597 to get nutrition services from a registered dietitian at HealthQuest.