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


World Cancer Day: Connecting Global Action to Personal Stories

Since 2000, World Cancer Day has been an annual occasion for us to reflect on current progress and future action needed for cancer prevention, detection and treatment. World Cancer Day 2014 statistics show that people who engage in risky but modifiable lifestyle Vivica Kraak_Deakin photo_2013behaviors — smoking, unhealthy alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, and a poor diet — will be among the 25 million new annual cases.

Each one of these new cancer cases and cancer deaths has a personal story attached to it. Here is why this year’s World Cancer Day has special relevance and how cancer has affected my life.

In May 2013, representatives of 194 countries at the 66th World Health Assembly in Geneva approved a landmark resolution to reduce non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by 25 percent by 2025. NCDs, which include cancers, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes, are illnesses that are non-infectious, chronic and slow to progress.

The World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Global Action Plan 2013-2020 encourages collaborative partnerships among government agencies, public-interest groups and the private sector to reach this ambitious outcome. Country representatives committed to track and report their progress — using 9 goals and 25 indicators — to create healthy food environments, promote physical activity and strengthen health systems. Continue reading