Shocking: Meat Industry “Report” Finds No Link Between Meat, Cancer

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It bears repeating: Our message at AICR is evidence-based, not agenda-driven.

One of our 10 Recommendations for Cancer Prevention is to limit meat consumption. Our Expert Panel judged that the evidence linking diets high in red meat and processed meat to colorectal cancer is convincing.  So they said:

To reduce your cancer risk, eat no more than 18 oz. (cooked weight) per week of red meats like beef, pork and lamb, and avoid processed meat such as ham, bacon, salami, hot dogs and sausages.”

In our materials, we show you how easy it is to follow that recommendation.  Our recipes de-emphasize meat in favor of vegetables, grains, beans and fruit.  We suggest ways to divide up those 18 ounces per week.  And we recommend saving hot dogs and sausage for special occasions.

Even so, our recommendation on meat isn’t popular with special interests.  Vegetarian groups don’t like it because it leaves room on the plate for moderate amounts of meat.

And the meat industry? They see our recommendation as an attack on their bottom line, and do everything they can to attack the recommendation, and the exhaustive report it came from.

Case in point: The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has just released their own “technical summary” of the science on the meat-cancer link.  Three guesses what it concludes.

Now that they’ve published it themselves, the rest of the scientific community can finally get a look at this document members of the meat lobby have been talking about — but not showing to anyone — for two years.

So: How does it hold up to our Expert Report?  See for yourself.

Counting Activity at Work and Play

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If you had to fill out a survey of your week’s activity, would you include only those bouts of exercise at the gym or add in the dog walks? What about including darting around at the office or any heavy lifting you do at work?

Identifying people’s activity levels may not be as simple as asking them.

This week, a study came out that Mexican-Americans are the most active group in America, compared to non-Hispanic whites and African Americans. The results challenge previous findings and suggest that collecting physical activity information should include electronic devices, along with self-reports.

The study was published in the American Journal of Public Health; you can read the abstract here.

Read more… “Counting Activity at Work and Play”

TV Ads and Chunky Kids

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News stories about childhood obesity are all over the news lately, many of them sparked by Michelle Obama’s campaign. (Last week Alice wrote about her new initiative, and how it may help prevent cancer.)

There’s no shortage of reasons why the rate of childhood obesity has increased over the years. One of the manyChildren watching television culprits on the short list is watching too much television. Now a study of more than 2,000 children suggests that it’s not the TV watching, but the commercials that are leading to overweight kids.

The study was published in the American Journal of Public Health and you can read the abstract here.

The TV watching data was first gathered in 1997 and then again in 2002. Parents filled out detailed activity reports of their children for one randomly chosen weekday and one weekend day. When watching TV, parents included the format (e.g., video, TV) and show. The UCLA researchers then analyzed the children’s TV information to their BMI.

For all the children, ages 0 to 12, the risk of being overweight increased the more commercial TV a child watched.There was no link with television viewing and obesity for children who watched videos or commercial-free programs. These results held even after the authors took into account exercise and eating while watching television.

What do you think about the foods advertised on kids’ TV programs? Any ideas on how to handle the ads for foods you don’t want your kids eating?

The authors note that it may be more effective to focus on promoting physical activity directly than to try to limit television viewing generally. For ideas on moving and healthy eating for kids, visit AICR’s The Taste Buddies.