AICR Award Highlights, New Research in Obesity and Cancer

How can bariatric surgery and a mom’s smartphone link to reduced cancer risk?

These studies were among the winners of the AICR research poster competition, announced yesterday at the annual Obesity Week conference. Obesity is associated with increased risk of a number of cancers, including ovarian, endometrial, and colorectal. The winners, awarded support by AICR, included three early investigators and two student prizes.

In no particular order, here are highlights of this year’s winners for outstanding posters. Congratulations to all. Note: these poster findings are not yet published and have not yet gone through the peer-reviewed process.

Ǻsa Anveden, MD PhD University of Gothenburg, Sweden

AvendenBariatric surgery is one obesity-treatment option and previous research suggests decreased risk of cancer following surgery. This surgery may reduce the risk of cancer in obese women, suggests the finding of this study.

Anveden and her team followed over 4,000 obese people (70% women) for up to 26 years to look for cancer incidence. About half the participants had undergone bariatric surgery, and they were matched to a group of obese controls who received usual care. Continue reading

Obesity Report: How Does Your State Rank?

Mississippi and West Virginia top the state rankings for adult obesity with Colorado again at the bottom, according to the new annual report on obesity that gives just a hint of positive news in another year of rising rates.

Click on image to see how your state ranks.

Click on image to see how your state ranks.

For cancer risk, the state of obesity is a major concern. Aside from not smoking, staying a healthy weight is the single biggest lifestyle factor related to cancer risk. AICR estimates that overweight and obesity increase risk of 8 cancer types.

The State of Obesity is the 11th annual report on obesity rates from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. (The report was formerly called F as in Fat.) For each state, the report looks at obesity-related cancers as well as heart disease and other health disorders related to obesity. You can also see each state’s policies on issues related to obesity.

Overall, the news is not good: Every state in our country has over one in five people obese; in 43 states, the rates are one in four. Adult obesity rates increased in six states over the past year, and did not decrease in any. More than one in ten children become obese at ages 2 to 5. As of the last available data, 2011-2012, nearly one out of three children and teens are overweight or obese.

The report also found many disparities, with obesity rates highest in the South and among Blacks, Latinos and lower-income, less-educated Americans. A special report on disparities found that almost half of African Americans, 43 percent of Latinos, 33 percent of Whites and 11 percent of Asian Americans were obese.

Here’s the positive: After decades of rising obesity rates among adults, the rate of increase is beginning to slow, according to the report. And national childhood obesity rate has remained stable.

The report issues high-priority recommendations, such as focusing on healthy food financing and improving nutrition and activity in schools and child care settings.

You can see how your state ranks and its obesity-related policies on their interactive site.

Get Your Kids to Eat More Plant-Based Foods in Honor of Earth Day!

With every meal, children develop their lifelong eating habits. The food choices they make while young can impact how their genes work later in life. Healthy kids make healthy adults, but only 39% of children ages 2 to 17 meet USDA recommendations for fiber, which is found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans, and only 7% of children ages 2 to 19 meet recommendations for whole grains. Eating the types of foods listed above that contain natural fiber help combat cancer. Try these three simple steps to help your kids eat more plant-based foods, so they can be healthy now and later!

1)    Turn off the TV: Food companies spend billions on marketing campaigns that utilize television, Internet advertising, brand licensing, and games to promote food products may seem fun, but offer little nutritional value. Kids love the colorful packaging they see on sweets, cereals, and sodas, but don’t realize that the package hides an unhealthy product. Take the time to explain to your child that these companies care about getting their money and not whether they are healthy. Help your children outsmart food companies by introducing them to foods that come in natural packaging, like bananas, apples and oranges. Remember that children like eating foods that are visually appealing.  Cut fruits into fun shapes, serve them in creative ways, and have your kids help wash and prepare them Continue reading