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A holiday gift guide that's all about staying cancer free

December 8, 2009 |  2:47 pm

Kuax15nc Here at the Health section we get daily pitches for gift guides, this being the holidays and all. Perhaps the most interesting proposal is the one we received today from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center who sent a "Cancer Prevention Gift Guide." Because who doesn't like to get a gift that says, "Happy Holidays! Hope you don't get cancer!"

All kidding aside, it's wonderful to encourage your loved ones to switch to a healthy lifestyle, but remember that it can't be forced. With that in mind, here are M.D. Anderson's suggestions:

 -- A gym membership: Regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent cancer, according to research studies. Of course, your loved one may interpret this as you saying, "Hey, tubby, get some exercise," so you might want to hint around first and see if it's something he or she is open to. Or get memberships for both of you and go together.

-- Sun protective clothing: Clothes made from special fibers and weaves help prevent skin from harmful sun rays. We're familiar with Sun Precautions clothing, which is on the casual side, but other companies and labels offer similar products. This could be less confrontational than telling someone for the 157th time to put on sun block, but stubborn tanners may think you're trying to sabotage their chances in the finals of the George Hamilton Invitational.

-- Membership in a fruit-of-the-month club: Few people, we hope, would turn down an entire year of fresh fruit (like those idealized Harry and David baskets), but for those who think upping their fruit consumption means eating more Skittles, you could be throwing money into what ultimately may become compost.

-- Vegetable steamer: Fresh vegetables are an even tougher sell than fruit, so be careful with this one, although this appliance from Breville is super nice and looks like a luxury vegetable condo. Again, be sure this gift will be appreciated before you hand it over, or it could be next year's re-gift, right back at you.

For more health-related presents, check out our holiday gift guide in the Health section on Monday, Dec. 14.

-- Jeannine Stein

Photo credit: David Karp / For The Times