We’re in the middle of National Public Health Week, an effort to raise awareness about what we as a society need to do to live longer and healthier, so it’s a good time to highlight some key items on AICR’s public health agenda.
AICR funds research about how lifestyle influences cancer risk, and educates the public about those results. But our evidence-based Recommendations for Cancer Prevention are only the first step. We also commissioned an additional report to outline what needs to be done, and by whom, to effect the kind of societal changes that can promote a healthier population and reduce the number of cancer cases in the U.S.
That report, Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention offers recommendations to all levels of society — government, the food industry, schools, workplaces and more. That’s because our entire culture has contributed to the problem by creating an environment that promotes obesity, inactivity and nutrient-poor, calorie-rich diets, all of which make cancer more likely.
Our Policy Report is global but we produced an Executive Summary of our Policy Report for the US, which selects those recommendations most relevant to our current environment. Here is just a sample of them. (The full US Executive Summary is available here.)
- Restrict advertising of “fast food” and other high-calorie processed foods and sugary drinks to children under the age of 12.
- Use regulation, pricing and other policies to make healthy foods and drinks more available and affordable.
- Design communities and transportations networks that promote safe everyday activity such as walking and cycling.
- [FOOD AND DRINK INDUSTRY]: Make public health a more central priority; present food in appropriate portions and relatively low in added fats, refines starches, sugars, syrups and salt.
- Provide healthy meals for all students and staff.
- Incorporate physical activity throughout the school day.
- Replace unhealthy foods in vending machines with healthier items.
Dietitians, physical activity experts and obesity specialists should work in an interdisciplinary manner to –improve public health, including cancer prevention, through food, nutrition, and physical activity.
- Offer employees access to affordable and healthy food and drinks via vending machines and through snacks and meals served in workplace meetings and events
Here are two actions you can take today:
Which of these recommendations for policy change do you think are most important?