Health Services

Prevention and Education Committee

Guiding Principles

Important and significant steps must be taken to help people prevent cancer through the adoption of healthy lifestyles and reduction of exposure to suspected environmental factors.

tip Did You Know? Dietary factors account for about 30% of all cancers? By including a wide array of healthy plant foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes such as beans and maintaining a healthy weight, you can also reduce the incidence of many other serious diseases. And it can be as simple as learning how to navigate your grocery store aisles. By making small changes every week you can make great strides toward eating a health-promoting diet in a short period of time - while saving money!

Healthy Lifestyles

Given that tobacco smoking, dietary choices and physical activity are the most important modifiable determinants of cancer risk demonstrated to date, together accounting for the majority of all cancers in the US, and that it is now clear that related behavioral changes can enable individuals to significantly reduce their cancer risk, it is imperative that we disseminate broad and clear education on the power of these lifestyle changes to Long Island residents of all ages, with an emphasis on children.

There will be major benefits from this education in other areas, as following cancer-reduction dietary recommendations alone, including eating more fruits and vegetables, eating fewer foods high in saturated fats, (fried foods, full-fat dairy products, processed, red and fatty cuts of meat) and less processed and refined foods, will greatly reduce the incidence of other serious diseases that kill an estimated three out of four Americans each year, and are responsible for the majority of our nation’s health care costs. These other lifestyle-related diseases include, but are not limited to heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes.

It's important that a healthy diet and regular physical activity remain goals for everyone. The greatest impact on disease, however, comes when such individual changes are supported by changes in society at large, such as better sidewalks for walking and healthier offerings in school cafeterias and Suffolk County facilities. Only through the synergy of such changes can the true potential of healthy lifestyles be reached.

tip Did You Know?
Your skin is the body’s largest organ. Grooming products can contain toxic chemicals and when applied to our skin may wind up in our bloodstream. Luckily, we can choose products that make us look good without harming our health.

Environmental Exposures

Given the evidence that Suffolk County residents are routinely exposed to thousands of chemical in air, water, soil, food and personal care products, the fact that many these chemicals have not been thoroughly tested for long-term safety, and that studies have shown that most people, including newborns currently have a chemical body burden, including carcinogenic agents, implementation of a precautionary approach to decision-making by state and local agencies becomes imperative. This precautionary approach is based on the premise that government, business, and society as a whole have a duty to prevent harm to public health or the environment where credible evidence exists that harm is occurring or is likely to occur, even when the exact nature and full magnitude of harm is not yet proven.

tip Did You Know? CANCER CAN BE PREVENTED Personal lifestyle choices can help reduce the risk of cancer.
50 to 75% of all cancer deaths in the US could be prevented by modifying lifestyle

Tobacco Smoking
30% of all cancer deaths could be prevented by eliminating the smoking of tobacco products

Obesity and Physical Activity
25 to 30% of cancer deaths are caused by obesity and physical inactivity. Obesity alone is estimated to cause 14% of cancer deaths in men and 20% in women

Based on National Cancer Institute Estimates (data from 2001-2005)
Note: average number of cancer deaths per year in Suffolk County is 2,845

Goals

Promote Healthy Lifestyle:
  • Tobacco and Secondhand Smoke
  • Diet
  • Exercise/Activity Level
  • Alcohol
  • Sun Protection (ultraviolet radiation)
  • Personal Care/Product Choices
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections
  • Drug Abuse

Reduce Environmental Exposures:

  • Personal Care/Consumer Products (e.g., Safe and Sustainable Procurement, Green Clean Procurement Policy)
  • Chemical Pesticides, Fertilizers, etc. (e.g., Pesticide Phase Out)
  • Environmental Risk/Exposure Assessment (programs to evaluate environmental exposures and risks)
  • Pharmaceuticals in Water
  • Heavy Metals in Drinking Water
  • Energy Related Issues (e.g., diesel exhaust, PAHs, dovetail with Energy initiatives)
  • Air Quality Related Issues