Got five minutes?
That's all you need to get a quick gauge of your health and learn how you might reduce cancer risk on the "Great American Health Check" at www.cancer.org/healthcheck. The free interactive online tool was launched last month by the American Cancer Society to encourage those age 21 and up to eat right and stay fit. The site also offers advice on cancer screenings recommended by age and sex.
"The point of screening is to detect cancers as early as possible," said ACS national volunteer president Stephen Sener, "so survivability is markedly enhanced."
Using your answers to a few brief questions on your health habits and profile, Health Check creates a personalized action plan, including a calculation of your body mass index (BMI), a number measuring weight relative to height.
"BMI is probably the single best determinant of healthy lifestyle that exists," Sener said. "If it's over 25 (signaling overweight), you have a problem."
Overweight and inactivity can put people at greater risk for death from diseases like cancer, according to a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Action plans generally recommend daily physical activity, a diet low in saturated fat and a further consultation with your doctor.