As part of National Minority Cancer Awareness Week during April 15 to 21, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has developed a series of food plate worksheets that focus on nutrition and cancer prevention for African American, Hispanic and Vietnamese audiences.
These resources are available online for public use. MD Anderson, in conjunction with the Houston-based African American, Asian American and Hispanic Health Coalitions, actively promote eating meals high in fruits and vegetables. They also encourage other health institutions and organizations to share these food plates with the communities they serve.
Each food plate includes a list of culturally-appropriate, cancer-fighting food options with serving size recommendations and a healthy recipe to educate communities on the importance of diet and cancer risk reduction.
Obesity is a Growing Concern
A healthy food plate is an especially timely message based on the recent Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer. This report stated that obesity remains a growing concern as a preventable cause of cancer incidence and death that’s second only to tobacco.
Fortunately, communities can take an active role in improving their health by making healthier choices related to diet, exercise and weight management.
The nutrition recommendations featured in these food plates highlight the USDA MyPlate and the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) food guidelines that support a healthy diet and cancer prevention. Key messages for a cancer-fighting food plate include:
- Meals should stay within the target calorie range of 500 calories for men and 400 calories for women to help adults maintain a healthy weight.
- Two-thirds of the plate should be filled with vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans.
- One-third or less of the plate should be filled with animal protein, with no more than 18 ounces of red meat (pork, beef or lamb) per week.
Cancer Disparities Still Exist
Some minority populations are more likely than the general population to develop and/or die from certain types of cancer. And as the United States population continues to grow more diverse, this issue becomes even more important.
The food plate worksheets can be found at www.mdanderson.org/prevention.