The American Cancer Society, the nation’s largest voluntary health organization, has launched a new nationwide movement to shine the spotlight on a sobering statistic: one in three women will get cancer in her lifetime. Choose You is designed to inspire women to take action and put their health first in order to stay well and help prevent cancer.

Actress Ellen Pompeo, star of “Grey’s Anatomy”, kicked off the American Cancer Society’s Choose You initiative yesterday at an event in Times Square. Pompeo “powered up” the Choose You flower icon on the world’s largest digital sign, the Walgreens Times Square Billboard. The event marked the start of the nationwide effort to encourage women across the country to do something they almost never do – to “choose themselves first” so they can stay well and reduce their risk of cancer.

As a busy actress, wife and new mom, Pompeo knows firsthand how important it is for women to put their health first. “My daily schedule is quite hectic, but I have to put my health first in order to be the best mom and wife I can be,” said Pompeo. "Choose You offers a powerful new platform to help women adopt healthy lifestyle choices to help prevent cancer.

“1 in 3 women will get cancer and 50% of all cancer deaths could be prevented by early detection. I had to get involved because it’s such a common sense, simple thing. We have to eat right, exercise, and get early screenings. And stop smoking!”

According to the American Cancer Society, about half of all cancer deaths could be prevented if people maintained a healthy weight through diet and regular exercise; avoided tobacco products; and got recommended cancer screening tests. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to incorporate these healthy behaviors into a busy lifestyle. In fact, a new national survey of approximately 2,000 women ages 25-64 revealed that they are so busy being caretakers of others, they have little time to take care of their own health.

As part of the Choose You movement, women are encouraged to sign a Choose You Commitment, an online pledge to reach a specific, individual health goal. At ChooseYou.com, women can choose from five different health categories: Eat Right; Get Active; Get Recommended Health Screenings; Protect Your Skin; and Quit Smoking. Participants give a minimum five dollar pledge once they sign a Choose You Commitment to incentivize them to stay on track. They can also ask friends and family to support them. Scientific research suggests that women who have a “stake in the game”, as well as social support from friends and family are more likely to be successful at accomplishing personal health goals. Choose You participants and visitors to ChooseYou.com will have access to online support and tools such as a calorie calculator, virtual dietitian, nutrition and activity quiz, smoking cost calculator, prevention and early detection videos, and a desktop helper with daily health tips.

On May 12, large employers around the country will be participating in Choose You Day, and will encourage their employees to pledge a $5 donation to the lifesaving work of the Society. The employees will also be encouraged to take 30 minutes during the workday to focus on their own personal health. Employees can choose to take a walk, attend a yoga class or participate in a program provided by employers.

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