Lobbyists Move to Weaken the Dietary Guidelines; Help Us Protect Them

Food industry lobbyists are exerting pressure on Congress to weaken the soon-to-be-released 2015 USDA/HHS Dietary Guidelines for Americans. If they succeed, the Guidelines will put politics before sound science, and fail to provide useable guidance for Americans that could help prevent thousands of cancers every year.

ShowImage.ashxIn two new appropriations bills now under consideration by Congress, language has been added that would:

  1. Subject the Dietary Guidelines to an arbitrary standard of evidence that doesn’t align with accepted scientific practice observed by other government entities like the National Institutes of Health, the National Academy of Sciences, the Institutes of Medicine, as well as the World Health Organization.
  2. Not allow the Dietary Guidelines to make recommendations on issues closely related to food and nutrition. This would mean, for example, that the clear and convincing evidence about the impact of obesity and inactivity on cancer and other chronic diseases would not be considered.
  3. Prevent the Dietary Guidelines from:
    1. proposing public health ideas to help Americans decrease our national intake of sodium, saturated fat and added sugars
    2. encouraging Americans to increase our physical activity, and
    3. providing practical guidance to families about healthy eating and living

These changes would represent a huge step backward in national health policy, and – crucially, from AICR’s perspective – mean that much of the evidence showing how people can lower their cancer risk would be effectively ignored, including the latest AICR research on the clear and convincing link between obesity and ten of the most common forms of cancer. Continue reading

Some Personal Thoughts on World Cancer Day

Here at AICR, we’re only too aware that behind the statistics – the millions of cancers occurring each year around the globe – there are human lives. Each of those lives tells a unique story.WCD_Logo_GREYSCALE

They’re stories of brave individuals and concerned families. Stories of tireless caregivers and compassionate doctors. Stories of researchers working to make the kind of discoveries that will produce breakthroughs in cancer prevention, treatment and survival. And stories of policy makers and health educators, striving to combat this disease in ways that stand to benefit the world at large.

Most of us have our own stories that help shape the lens through which we view cancer.   My aunt never once used the actual word when she had a recurrence of breast cancer that spread to her bones after an 8 year period of being all clear. She was from a generation that didn’t make a lot of fuss. Continue reading

Our Research Conference Buzz Is About to Begin

Despite the warm temperatures it’s definitely autumn here in Washington, DC. With pumpkins on doorsteps, apples a-plenty and Halloween just around the corner – there is no mistaking the sights and smells of the season. For us here at AICR though, Fall means something else – it’s time for our 2014 Annual Research Conference!rescon-banner2-new-logo

In just a few hours we will welcome our delegates and I will have the pleasure of opening the first session.

It’s been a busy week in the office, making the final preparations to get to this point. Every department is involved in making it all happen and is excited to be part of what we consider to be the highlight of our year. We love the buzz of the conference – great presentations, hearing the latest research, meeting our grantees, talking with the poster presenters – along with delicious nourishment from cancer protective meals.

We are always gratified by the passion of the scientists working in this area – it helps us remember the importance and urgency of our mission and we always leave reinvigorated and inspired.

I hope to see many friends and colleagues there and for those who cannot join, please follow and join the conversation on social media. We’ll be posting on our blog several times a day – and tweeting from #AICR14.