Eating healthy, exercising and being a healthy weight are among the behavior changes Americans can make to cut 20 to 40 percent of the five leading causes of US deaths, including cancer, according to a new report from the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention. For cancer, not smoking or drinking alcohol also play a key role in preventing deaths.
The report highlights how the same factors that reduce the risk of cancer also reduce the risk of other diseases. (We talk here about Eating to Prevent Heart Disease and Cancer the two leading causes of death.)
According to the report, the five leading causes of death in the United States are heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, and unintentional injuries.
The CDC report focused on premature deaths. Together, the five leading causes of death accounted for almost two-thirds of all U.S. deaths in 2010. State by state, the report looked at mortality data from 2008-2010 of those who died before age 80. They then used the state with the lowest numbers of deaths as the benchmark to calculate the numbers of deaths from each cause that could be prevented in each state. Continue reading
For cancer prevention, the evidence is pretty clear: vitamins, minerals and other supplements alone don’t work. Not relying on supplements is one of AICR’s recommendations for cancer prevention — a recommendation made after analyzing the global research.
Now a review of the research supports this conclusion, finding that many popular supplements do not protect against both cancer and heart disease, the two leading causes of death in America. At least among healthy individuals. And some supplements may possibly cause harm among certain groups of people. The report was published by the US Preventive Task Force, an update to their 2003 report with similar findings.
The analysis reviewed all the new evidence since the last report, collecting only “good quality” studies. At the end of it, there were 26 new studies.
How many different eating patterns – or types of diet – can you name?
I just returned from the annual meeting of the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR), where I was invited to speak about the research on dietary patterns and the practical take-home messages that stem from that research. AACVPR is a multidisciplinary group of health professionals who help people recover following a heart attack, heart surgery or chronic respiratory disease.
Just as in studies of diet and cancer risk, research related to heart disease increasingly emphasizes that it’s not individual nutrients or even specific foods, but overall eating patterns that make a key difference. Conference attendees included physicians, nurses, exercise physiologists, psychologists and dietitians. All hear patient questions about the Mediterranean diet, vegan diet, DASH diet and more, including confusion over headlines that identify each of these as “best”.
So what’s the best diet? I was speaking to a room so over-filled with health professionals wanting to hear about this that conference organizers set up a “satellite room” for the overflow. Continue reading