State-by-State: High Obesity Means High Cancer Risk

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America’s obesity epidemic stretches from coast to coast and encompasses every state, with twelve states having at least three of every ten residents obese, according to a new government survey.

Every state had at least 20 percent of its residents report they were obese, the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey found. The estimates have severe implications for our country’s future cases of cancer, as well as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Obesity increases the risk of seven types of cancer, including colorectal and postmenopausal breast.

The estimates come from an annual telephone CDC survey, called the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

The South had the highest prevalence of adult obesity, with Mississippi at the top at 35 percent. Western states reported the lowest overall obesity prevalence with Colorado coming in at the bottom, still having 21 percent of its residents reporting they were obese.

This year, CDC made some changes to improve their data collection and analysis. For example, they called cell phones for the first time as well as landlines.

The updates mean you cannot compare this year’s estimates to those of previous years. But still, obesity rates remain high. A different CDC survey released earlier this year estimated that more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese. This survey included interviews, physical exams, and lab tests.

Want to find out where your state ranks? Look here.

Breastfeeding vs. Formula: Navigating the Choices in Real Life

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I’m a mother who works for a cancer prevention charity. I’m a mother who knows that breastfeeding is one of our strongest weapons to protect both the mother and child from cancer later in life. And I’m a mother who struggled to follow AICR’s recommendation to breastfeed infants exclusively up to six months.

What’s made me think about this is New York City’s initiative in participating hospitals to restrict access to infant formula in an effort to encourage breast feeding, and whether this is helpful or intrusive? Here’s one article on the program.

On paper – promoting and encouraging breastfeeding is an easy public health fix. Breast milk is free, portable and always at the right temperature. The reality is more complex.

First, not all women are able to breastfeed – infections, sick infants and difficult home environments are just some of the barriers that make it impossible. Second, our physical environment does not always support women breastfeeding outside the home. The dearth of appropriate facilities and sometimes hostile attitudes makes it difficult for mothers – especially those with older children who cannot be housebound. Third, many women simply cannot afford to be without a paycheck for 6 months and manage the considerable challenge of pumping and freezing sufficient breast milk. Read more… “Breastfeeding vs. Formula: Navigating the Choices in Real Life”

New Recommendation for Doctors: Screen Adults for Obesity

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Doctors should screen their adult patients for obesity and refer those who are obese to an intensive behavioral program. That’s the recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent group of health experts that reviews published research and makes recommendations about preventive health care.

Over 60% of American adults are overweight or obese, which puts them at higher risk for many cancers, diabetes and heart disease. Yet a recent study found that only 30% of doctors reported discussing weight with obese patients. This task force recommendation explains the evidence and provides specific guidance for how doctors can help patients on the path to healthier weight.

Here’s what the task force recommends: Read more… “New Recommendation for Doctors: Screen Adults for Obesity”