In March 2012, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) released its Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer 1975-2008. This year’s report contains a special feature on the association of overweight and lack of physical activity with cancer risk. NCCOR Steering Committee member Dr. Rachel Ballard-Barbash (NCI) participated as a co-author on the report.
“During the last two decades, an extensive body of research has begun to identify an association between obesity and worse prognosis and outcomes among some cancer patients, particularly those with breast, prostate, and colon cancer,” said Ballard-Barbash. “In interpreting the research on cancer risk and prognosis, it is important to understand that obesity is associated with physical inactivity and poor dietary practices both of which may also increase the risk for cancer.”
The report concluded that though cancer rates have declined in recent decades, for several of the cancers which have been increasing in the US, excess weight and lack of physical activity have been associated with increasing risk for those cancers. The report also highlights the importance of efforts at both the individual level to promote healthy food intake, physical activity, and healthy weight among children and adults and at the environmental and policy level to make being physically active and eating a healthy diet easier to do.
A number of the activities highlighted in the report related to improving the environmental and policy forces to support recommended health behaviors are a focus of the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity (NCCOR).