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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Vanderbilt-led Study Finds Lifestyle Modifications Help Prevent Cancer in Underserved Populations

Interested in how cancer prevention recommendations play out in low-income populations, epidemiologist Dr. Shaneda Warren Anderson and colleagues analyzed data from 61,098 adults, with overrepresentation of low-income Whites and African-Americans.

Dr. Shaneda Warren Andersen
[Photo: Dr. Shaneda Warren Anderson]

The team measured adherence to American Cancer Society (ACS) recommendations regarding body mass index, physical activity, diet, alcohol intake and smoking status, and they gathered other clinical data and demographic data. During a median follow-up period of six years, there were 2,240 cancers diagnosed in the group.

As reported in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, adherence to the ACS guidelines to stay away from tobacco was strongly associated with lower cancer risk. Also, in individuals without chronic disease at baseline, a score that summarized adherence to guidelines for nutrition and physical activity was significantly associated with reduced cancer risk.

“These data provide support for the promotion of healthful behaviors, especially smoking cessation and avoidance of a sedentary lifestyle, as cancer prevention measures,” said study co-author Dr. Wei Zheng, Chief of the Division of Epidemiology and Director of the Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center.

Drs. Warren Anderson and Zheng were joined in the study by Drs. William Blot and Xiao-Ou Shu, as well as researchers from Meharry Medical College and the International Epidemiology Institute. The study used data from the Southern Community Cohort Study.

More information on the study can be found at