Tennessee has made its mark on the nation’s cancer map, and it’s not a pretty picture.
The state is among a handful (all in the South) that rank higher, or lower, than the rest of the country when it comes to leading risk factors for the disease, according to a recent report of the American Cancer Society (data illustrated by National Public Radio.) An estimated 1.6 million people will be diagnosed with cancer this year, according to ACS.
Tennessee leads the nation in rates of obesity and smoking, while trailing in measures that reduce the risk of cancer including exercise and eating healthy foods.
Here are how the statistics break down for the state:
• 24.3% are smokers
• 33.7% are obese
• 37.2% don’t exercise regularly
• 17.6% eat fruit twice daily
• 11.2% eat three vegetables daily
Compare this with Vermont, for example, in which 16.6 percent of the population smokes, 24.7 percent are obese, and just 20.5 percent don’t exercise or California where nearly one-quarter of the population eats the recommended services of vegetables and nearly 40 percent the recommended servings of fruit. (Truth is, there’s room for improvement across the country.)
In addition, many Americans fail to get recommended screenings for common cancer types. In Tennessee, just 56.5 percent of women over the age of 40 had a mammogram in the past year. And only 66.4 percent of both men and women had been tested for colorectal cancer. These screenings often result in early detection of cancer, which increases chances of survival.
The good news is, it doesn’t have to stay this way. Changing lifestyle habits such as adding daily exercise and smoking cessation increases your odds against cancer as well as other lifestyle-related diseases. Find out how to take first steps toward decreasing your cancer risk.