Both here in the US and around the world, obesity rates continue to climb. Today, for the first time, more people are classified as obese than underweight, finds a major new study published in The Lancet.
The findings have severe implications for cancer rates. Aside from not smoking, staying a healthy weight is the single largest risk factor related to cancer risk. AICR research links excess body fat to ten cancers, including colorectal, postmenopausal breast and esophageal.
Here in the US, if everyone were a healthy weight, AICR estimates that approximately 128,000 cases of cancer could be prevented each year.
Today is February 1st. Do you know what month it is? Not a trick question – this is a very important time for us all here at AICR as February is National Cancer Prevention Month. That means 29 days to shine a spotlight on the need for Americans to embrace and make healthy lifestyle changes to protect their health and reduce their cancer risk – and we are determined to make each day count.
It’s important to us because although there are huge strides being made in cancer treatment with new drug discoveries and precision medicine, these are expensive and come with their own challenges. We have a public health crisis — the number of cancer cases due to obesity and lack of physical activity will reportedly surpass those due to tobacco in 20 years. Prevention has the potential to save costs and suffering — and we need to think broadly about it as an effective strategy.
The chances are that if you are reading this blog, you already know about and take some steps to reduce your own cancer risk as part of your daily life. You might already know that an estimated one-third of US cancer cases could be prevented by eating healthy along with being active and a healthy weight. Many more could be prevented by not smoking and using sun protection. Maybe you try one of our health–e recipes, count your steps or watch your portion sizes on a regular basis. So are we simply preaching to the choir? Continue reading
You probably know fruits and vegetables are packed with all kinds of nutrients, and compounds linked to good health. One of the biggest groups of these compounds or phytochemicals are the flavonoids, and we talk about them a lot here because they’re studied for their role in lowering cancer risk.
Now comes a large and long-term study that suggests eating plenty of berries, pears, peppers and other fruits and vegetables high in flavonoids may help you avoid weight gain as you age. That can help prevent overweight or obesity, and that’s a big deal for cancer prevention.
The study, published in BMJ, included almost 124,000 people who were part of three population studies that were looking at habits and health. Back in 1986, participants had reported what they were eating, along with other lifestyle habits, such as smoking and activity. They also reported how much they weighed. Every couple years every again filled out questionnaire about their eating habits, using a detailed list of foods, along with weight and illness. Continue reading