Panel: 'Control tobacco, food ads to beat cancer'

A new presidential report on cancer takes on not only tobacco companies but the food industry while calling on the federal government to "cease being a purveyor of unhealthy foods" and switch to policies that encourage Americans to eat vegetables and exer

Panel: 'Control tobacco, food ads to beat cancer'
A new presidential report on cancer takes on not only tobacco companies but the food industry while calling on the federal government to "cease being a purveyor of unhealthy foods" and switch to policies that encourage Americans to eat vegetables and exercise.

The report, issued on Thursday, also urged changes in public and private insurance policies to encourage doctors to spend more time counseling patients on how to stay healthy by eating right, exercising and avoiding tobacco.

"Ineffective policies, in conjunction with limited regulation of sales and marketing in the food and beverage industry, have spawned a culture that struggles to make healthy choices -- a culture in dire need of change," said the report, available on the Internet at http://pcp.cancer.gov.

"Moreover, the panel was troubled to find that the efforts of those committed to an America less burdened by cancer often are compromised by federal, state, and local policies that have decreased the availability and affordability of healthy foods, limited physical education in schools, and created a built environment that discourages physical activity," it said.

Several reports have shown that a third of all cancers are caused by tobacco use, and another one-third by obesity and inactivity.

"This country must not ignore its moral obligation to protect the health of all Americans. We can and must empower individuals to make healthy choices through appropriate policy and legislation, and the panel urges you to use the power of your office toward this life-saving goal," the President's Cancer Panel, chaired by Howard University's Dr. LaSalle Leffall, wrote in a letter to Bush.

PURVEYOR OF UNHEALTHY FOODS

The report recommended stricter regulation of the tobacco industry and urged Congress to authorize the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco.

The federal government also should "require the elimination of unhealthy foods from school breakfast and lunch programs" and "must cease being a purveyor of unhealthy foods that lead to disease and increased health care costs," it said.

This includes regulation of food advertising and changing agricultural support policies, it said.

"We heavily subsidize the growth of foods (e.g., corn, soy) that in their processed forms (e.g., high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated corn and soybean oils, grain-fed cattle) are known contributors to obesity and associated chronic diseases, including cancer," the report reads.

The American Cancer Society predicts more than 1.4 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in 2007 and that 559,650 will die.

Cancers of the breast, prostate gland, pancreas, stomach, esophagus and liver have been linked to obesity while colorectal cancer, endometrial cancer, kidney cancer, prostate cancer and ovarian cancer, among others, are linked to inactivity.

Smoking is the single biggest cause of cancer. It causes not only lung cancer, but cancers of the head and neck, stomach, bladder, kidney, pancreas, cervix and acute myeloid leukemia.

Reuters
Last Mod: 16 Ağustos 2007, 10:23
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