Your County’s Health and Cancer Risk

The latest report on county health rankings found, once again, where you live makes a  difference to how long you live and your health. The least healthy counties have twice the death rates as the nation’s healthiest, according to the report. Wepeople_03

This is the fifth annual County Health Rankings, a report that compiles data on mortality and 29 health factors, including many that relate to cancer risk. For these factors, the findings are slightly encouraging for the nation. These include:

  • Obesity: Obesity rates for adults are holding steady with a rate of 28 percent for 2012. Prior, obesity rates increased from 16 percent of adults in 1995 to 28 percent in 2010. Aside from smoking, obesity is now the single largest risk factor for cancer. The latest research shows that obesity is a cause of 8 cancers, including post-menopausal breast, ovarian and endometrial. Continue reading


At the Summit: Partnerships and Actions to Reduce Childhood Obesity

Last week’s 2014 summit of the Partnership for a Healthier America showed inspiring results from a growing number of non-profit, government and corporate collaborations for “Building a Healthier Future.”

The conference focused on how the many sectors in our society can support children – and Americans in general – in reducing obesity levels. And that’s important for cancer prevention, because after not smoking, obesity is the single largest risk factor for cancer.

Celebrating its fourth year, the Partnership’s meeting was graced by uplifting remarks from First Lady Michelle Obama, whose initiative Let’s Move to reduce childhood obesity and increase physical activity and healthy eating in hundreds of schools has been pivotal for the public-private partnerships now expanding that theme. Continue reading


Making it Easier for Kids to Eat Whole Grains

Research shows many reasons why it’s important for kids to eat a diet rich in whole grains. Whole grains can help your kids – and you – maintain a healthy weight. And as your kids become older, whole grains can help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, and diet-related cancers.Wheat ears in the child hands

Recent research that I have collaborated on through the CHANGE Study suggests that children who ate more than 1.5 servings of whole grains every day had a 40 percent less risk of being obese than children who did not consume whole grains.

Yet only about 5 percent of American adults and children eat the recommended servings of whole grains every day and not all whole-grain products are good or excellent sources of dietary fiber. There are a lot of positive developments in what food companies and others to help kids get more whole grains. But there is still more progress that we can make in three main settings.

Marketplace: Changes made by food companies that have reformulated ready-to-eat breakfast cereal products, combined with new school nutrition policies and healthier meals served at home, will collectively make it easier for children to consume the recommended three servings of whole grains every day. Continue reading