Fostering multiple healthy lifestyle behaviors for primary prevention of cancer

Bonnie Spring*, Abby C. King, Sherry L. Pagoto, Linda Van Horn, Jeffery D. Fisher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-90
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Volume70
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015

Keywords

  • Cancer prevention
  • Ecological model
  • Health behavior
  • Obesity
  • Risk behavior
  • Smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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