Menu calorie counts may help lower cancer risk in obese people

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A new study suggests that specifying the number of calories for each item on restaurant menus could help prevent cancer cases linked with obesity in the United States.

The study reveals that if more restaurants followed this policy, thousands of cancer cases and deaths could potentially be averted, and billions of dollars saved in healthcare costs.

The research also found that obesity is a risk factor for 13 types of cancer, with obesity-related cancers making up 40% of all newly diagnosed cases of cancer and 43.5% of cancer care costs.

To help reduce calorie intake, the Affordable Care Act 2010 made it mandatory for chain restaurants with 20 plus outlets to post calorie counts on menus and menu boards for all standard items.

Using a modeling study called The Diet and Cancer Outcome model (DiCOM), researchers estimated the impact of the policy on reducing obesity-related cancer rates and associated costs among 235 million US adults over a simulated lifetime starting from 2015.

The study revealed that the policy could prevent 28,000 new cancer cases and 16,700 cancer deaths, and save up to US$1.48 billion in related medical costs over an average monitoring period of 34 years.

The policy was associated with the prevention of cancer cases like endometrium (womb lining), liver, kidney, postmenopausal breast, and pancreas.

It was also associated with net savings of US$1.46 billion and US$1.35 billion in health care and societal costs, respectively.

The researchers suggest that additional food industry product reformulation could substantially increase policy impact.

The policy could prevent more cancer cases and deaths, and gain more years of life lived in good health (QALYs).

While the study does not provide a real-world evaluation of the policy’s impact on health and economic outcomes, the researchers believe that it is cost-effective and could help reduce obesity-associated cancer burdens in the US.

How to reduce cancer risk in obesity

There are several ways to reduce cancer risk in obesity, including:

Maintain a healthy weight: The most effective way to reduce cancer risk in obesity is to maintain a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise.

Eat a healthy diet: Eating a diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in red and processed meats, can reduce the risk of cancer.

Exercise regularly: Regular exercise can help to reduce cancer risk by reducing inflammation, boosting the immune system, and improving overall health.

Limit alcohol consumption: Excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of certain cancers, so it’s important to limit alcohol intake.

Quit smoking: Smoking is a major risk factor for many types of cancer, so quitting smoking can significantly reduce cancer risk.

Get regular check-ups: Regular check-ups with a healthcare provider can help to detect cancer early when it’s most treatable.

Consider cancer screening: Depending on your age, gender, and family history, your healthcare provider may recommend cancer screening tests to detect cancer early.

It’s important to remember that making healthy lifestyle choices can have a significant impact on reducing cancer risk, even in people who are already obese.

If you care about cancer, please read studies that low-fat diet could help improve survival in breast cancer, and what you need to know cancer and booster shot.

For more information about cancer, please see recent studies about new way to increase the longevity of cancer survivors, and results showing vitamin D supplements strongly reduces cancer death.

The study was published in BMJ Open.

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