Amish Prove Clean Living Pays Off for Avoiding Cancer

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Jan. 4 (UPI) — U.S. researchers say an examination of cancer rates among the Amish underscores the virtues of exercise, not smoking, healthy food and fewer sex partners.

Researchers at the Ohio State University’s James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute in Columbus say they were not surprised tobacco-related cancers were 63 percent lower among the non-smoking Amish than in the non-Amish.

Other factors such as eating organic food, having few sexual partners and wearing long sleeves and wide-brimmed hats, may also have helped keep cancer rates 40 percent lower in the Amish community, the researchers say.

However, the researchers say they were surprised to find genetic factors may contribute to the lower cancer rate. At the beginning of the eight-year study that looked at 24 types of cancer, the researchers expected some cancers which run in families to be common among the Amish since they were all so closely related.

The researchers went door-to-door, documenting cancer case-by-case in 92 families in Holmes County, Ohio.

“As we looked and looked we did not find any increased risk of cancer in the Amish,” lead author Dr. Judith Westman said in a statement. “In fact, they may have some genetic factors that actually protect them from cancer that we haven’t yet identified.”

The findings are published in the journal Cancer Causes and Control.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

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