What is fuelling overweight and obesity and which policy actions are needed? : WCRF/ AICR Third Expert Report


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Michelle McCully1,Giota Mitrou1,Susannah Brown1,Isobel Bandurek1,Louise Meincke1,Bryony Sinclair1,Ifigeneia Bourgiezi1,Nigel Brockton2,Deirdre McGinley-Gieser2,Martin J. Wiseman1,Kate Allen1
1World Cancer Research Fund International,2American Institute for Cancer Research

Abstract

Background

Cancer causes one in six deaths worldwide and is rapidly becoming a global pandemic.Obesity is an established risk factor for a growing number of cancers.With more and more people becoming overweight and obese evidence-based recommendations are vital.This talk will present the main findings and the Updated Recommendations from the recently published World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research Third Expert Report with specific focus on Recommendations related to overweight and obesity and will elaborate on policy actions needed.

Method

The updated Recommendations have been based on the systematic and rigorous analysis of the best available global scientific research on diet,weight,physical activity and cancer supported by mechanistic evidence.A review of evidence on energy balance and body fatness was also taken into account especially for theRecommendations of sugar-sweetened drinks and processed foods.

Results

New strong evidence shows that overweight and obesity is a cause of at least 12cancers,five more than the Second Expert Report a decade ago.Strong evidencealso shows that high consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and fast foods or other processed foods high in fat,starches or sugars are a cause of weight gain,overweight and obesity,thereby indirectly increasing the risk of cancer.This led the Panel to make separate Recommendations for these exposures for the first time.Translating the scientific evidence into tangible policy actions,as outlined in the new WCRF policy framework,is urgently needed to create environments conducive for people and communities to follow theRecommendations.Specific policy actions,such as sugar taxes and marketing restrictions,will be discussed.

Conclusion

As evidence accrues,it is clear that the risk of avoidable cancers can be significantly reduced by following a healthy dietary and physical activity pattern as an overall way of life as indicated by our Cancer Prevention Recommendations.In parallel,implementation of a comprehensive package of effective policies is urgently needed to help address the rising burden of cancer in the UK and worldwide.