Research news and views on preventing and surviving cancer
Author: Alice RD
Alice G. Bender, MS, RDN, is the Head of Nutrition Programs at AICR. She helps put the science of cancer prevention by providing tips and tools to choose nutritious and delicious foods. Alice has guided thousands of individuals to healthier lives through diet changes and choices.
There’s been some controversy about whether being overweight, but not obese, might actually link to a longer life. A few years ago a major study suggested that paradox. We wrote about it here.
For lower cancer risk, healthy weight is key. AICR’s reports find that overweight and obesity increase risk for 11 cancers, including colorectal and postmenopausal breast.
In this new analysis on weight and mortality, researchers used a person’s highest weight during the study and found that those who were overweight or obese had increased risk for early death. The data comes from 225,000 participants in the Nurses Health Studies (NHS I and II) and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS). It was published last week in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
For cancer patients and survivors, learning what to eat for the energy they need and to support their treatment can be powerful medicine. Fortunately, an increasing number of clinics have specialists in oncology nutrition who help patients navigate the often complex diet needs. I talked with one of these experts, Angela Hummel, about helping people with cancer do just that.
What do patients ask you the most?
People really want to know what’s the best thing to eat for fighting cancer. Although there’s no one answer, I encourage patients to focus on eating as healthy of a diet as they can. Getting enough nutrients is key to support a strong immune system and to repair your body. Patients and caregivers can get creative and make eating more enjoyable by making smoothies, flavorful soups or foods that are easy to to eat, like muffins. Read more… “Powerful Medicine – A Cancer RD Talks about Diet for Patients/Survivors”
According to a recent study, fewer US adults with overweight or obesity are trying to lose weight in what is a concerning trend for cancer prevention. With obesity rates increasing and fewer at a healthy weight, more people will be at risk for several cancers such as post menopausal breast and colorectal, as well as other chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes.
In their analysis, researchers used data from NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) from 1988 through 2014 to compare weight loss efforts over the past couple of decades. They found that the percent of Americans with overweight trying to lose weight dropped from 56% to 49% in the past 25 years. This drop occurred in nearly all gender and ethnic categories, but perhaps the most concerning decline was for black women. Almost 8 in 10 black women have overweight or obesity, but those trying to lose weight went from 65.5% to almost 55%. White women and men also showed drops in weight loss efforts.