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


For Cancer Researchers, A Social Media Wake-Up Call

This year, AICR is trying something different at our Annual Research Conference on Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer next week. Something we hope will act as a clarion call for cancer researcher and health professionals.canstockphoto6433880

We’ve all gone to conferences where the social media engagement is limited to attendees being encouraged to tweet their experiences. But at a breakfast session first thing in the morning on November 8th, AICR is hosting a special panel to discuss how scientists can engage in meaningful conversations with the public using social media.

There is an urgent need for responsible, evidence-based cancer information in social media, and unfortunately this need, in many cases, is now being met by self-appointed health “gurus” who make unverifiable or patently false claims. Now is the time for informed, rational voices to enter the furious ongoing discussion. We must provide context and sober, well-informed resources and information.

Social media gives scientists and practitioners with a means of sharing their work and engaging in a meaningful two-way discussion with a wider audience. Continue reading