Only about half of Americans are aware of the link between excess weight and cancer

While the debate around drug pricing intensifies in the media and among politicians obesity continues to be the number one threat to American healthcare. About 7 in 10 Americans are overweight or obese, according to a 2015 article in JAMA Internal Medicine. People are considered overweight if they have a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 29, and obese if they have a BMI of 30 or more.

According to the Washington Post “, the proportion of adults who are overweight has remained relatively stable in the past several decades, but the obesity rate has soared. In the early 1960s, almost 11 percent of men and nearly 16 percent of women were obese; in 2016, those percentages were 38 percent and 41 percent, respectively, according to the cancer society.

Why can’t we do for obesity what we did for smoking?

I talked to several high ranking doctors, and they all agree that the fight against obesity is complicated. It, of course, starts with awareness but it also has to be addressed in prevention at the PCP level and via communication between insurance providers and customers. They do, however, believe that a campaign to reach people about the dangers of obesity can be successful provided that behasvioril issues are also addressed.

More Americans attribute stress and other unproven factors leading to cancer than recognize that alcohol, processed meat, and other lifestyle habits have clear links to cancer risk, according to a new survey from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR).

“There is a clear crisis in cancer prevention awareness,” said Alice Bender, MS, RDN, AICR Head of Nutrition Programs. “It’s troubling that people don’t recognize alcohol and processed meats increase cancer risk. This suggests the established factors that do affect cancer risk are getting muddled with headlines where the research is unclear or inconclusive.”

The best way to cut drug industry profits is through people taking better care of themselves. That won’t be enough for some people but it’s a great start.

1 thought on “Only about half of Americans are aware of the link between excess weight and cancer

  1. As a resident in internal medicine I have noticed that a great percentage of patients are obese, even at younger ages. I feel it’s my responsibility to inform them about the dangers of bad diets and lack of exercise. Most patients do respond to the conversation but it’s just too hard to find the time to exercise for a lot of people and the temptation of a big meal is hard to resist when you’re under life’s pressures.

    I agree that an in depth awareness program is needed and we also need to stop making excuses about the causes of obesity.

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