Since 1995, the American Public Health Association has designated the first full week of April as National Public Health Week, a time to appreciate the issues that impact our overall well-being as a nation.
This year’s theme is “Public Health is ROI: Save Lives, Save Money,” and AICR applauds its focus on prevention as a key strategy to make diseases like cancer more rare, and less costly — whether those costs are measured in dollars or in human lives.
The National Institutes of Health has crunched the numbers, based on 2008 data. How much does cancer cost the nation financially each year?
Total cost: $201.5 billion
Direct medical costs (total of all health expenditures): $77.4 billion
Indirect mortality costs (cost of lost productivity due to premature death): $124 billion
We don’t need special foods for cancer prevention.
Buckminster Fuller was a true genius of our times, but he nearly killed himself with a special diet. He reasoned that because mankind was at the top of the evolutionary ladder he should also be at the top of the food chain, so for several weeks he ate only meat. After his collapse and hospitalization for kidney failure he decided he might be wrong about that. Because Steve Jobs occasionally purged himself by eating only fruit, and was a creative and successful man before he succumbed to pancreatic cancer, the actor Ashton Kutcher reasoned that a fruit-only diet might be a good idea. After his recent hospitalization for pancreatitis caused by that diet, I suspect he is now re-thinking that idea too.
I am an epidemiologist with a particular interest in studying how nutrition affects one’s risk of getting cancer. Over the past 30 years I have many times been struck by the constant parade of ideas about how cancer risk might be reduced by eating special foods, by taking special supplements, or by adopting particular cuisines.
Coca-Cola has unveiled a new ad campaign they say is designed to be part of the conversation about obesity. First up: an ad that touts their 180 beverages that are no or low calorie, like Dasani water and diet sodas.
If this means Coke plans to focus on these drinks and dedicate their advertising dollars (U.S. and globally) towards promoting water, unsweetened tea and other zero calorie drinks, that could be a helpful step toward reducing obesity and preventing many cases of cancer in the United States. Continue reading