World Health Day: Governments Need to Step Up to the Plate

Photo-of-Karen-Sadler-150x150Karen Sadler is Executive Director of World Cancer Research Fund International.

Today is United Nations’ World Health Day, where those of us working to improve the health of people across the globe traditionally deliver a clarion call to galvanise people into action. It’s a moment when, to paraphrase Kofi Annan, we remind world governments that health is to be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for.

But this year that message has particular resonance. In 2000, all the countries around the world … Continue Reading

Will 2014 be the year we see a domino effect for obesity prevention across the world?

Photo-of-Boyd-SwinburnBoyd Swinburn is Professor of Population Nutrition and Global Health at the University of Auckland, and Co-Chair of the International Obesity Task Force.

Policies to create healthier food environments have been recommended as a high priority for obesity prevention across the world, but until recently there has been little action on this front. However, in the last few years, several countries have stepped up to the plate and become exemplars for other countries to follow. So as the International Congress on Obesity takes place this week, I am wondering whether the … Continue Reading

The World’s Taking Action to Reduce Salt Intake

Corinna HawkesCorinna Hawkes is Head of Policy and Public Affairs at World Cancer Research Fund International. She is a specialist in food policy who has worked for the World Health Organisation, and is an Honorary Fellow at the Centre for Food Policy, City University, London.

This week is World Salt Awareness Week. You might wonder why that matters to an organisation focused on cancer prevention. Well, it matters because the global scientific research analysed by us shows that salt increases the risk of developing stomach cancer. There is … Continue Reading

A scientific breakthrough: maintaining a healthy weight reduces your risk of ovarian cancer

Ricardo UauyBlog by Professor Ricardo Uauy

Ricardo Uauy is Professor of Public Health Nutrition at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. His research focuses on population-based nutritional intervention programmes, including childhood obesity, and the nutritional needs of older people. He has served as an expert for the World Health Organization.

This is an important week for those of interested in public health  – and cancer prevention, in particular – as research published today shows, for the first time, that being overweight increases your risk of getting ovarian cancer.

I am … Continue Reading

Reflections on progress to reduce non-communicable diseases

unIn September 2011, public health NGOs were gearing up for the High-Level Meeting of the United Nations on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). This was only the second time that the UN General Assembly had met on a health issue. As such it was both a landmark occasion and an unprecedented opportunity to raise political awareness of the catastrophic impact of NCDs around the world.

Public health advocates wanted the meeting to bring a similar level of political attention and sense of urgency to NCDs as had previously been achieved for the HIV/AIDS epidemic. … Continue Reading

Why World Cancer Day is so important

Julie TorodeJulie Torode is Deputy CEO and Director of Advocacy and Programmes for the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC)

Every year, on the 4th February, our 800 member organisations are given a fantastic opportunity to work together to reach out to a wider audience for World Cancer Day. This annual event is unique in terms of the cut through it allows us to achieve with the public.

We know that 1 in 3 cancer cases can be prevented if we have the right strategies in place; and that prevention really is the … Continue Reading

It’s World Cancer Day – find out what needs to be done to beat this disease

Alastair Campbell - World Cancer Day

Alastair Campbell is chairman of fundraising for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, and has raised thousands for them through sports events. He took up running in 2002, while still working as Director of Communications for Prime Minister, Tony Blair. He is an ambassador for Alcohol Concern

Today is World Cancer Day, where those fighting cancer across the world come together to raise awareness of the disease, and what needs to be done so that the work can go on to beat it. As Theodore Roosevelt said ‘believe you … Continue Reading

Financial crisis impacts nutrition

Sandra Crispim

Dr Sandra Crispim is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of São Paulo (USP), Brazil, and a WCRF International Academy Fellow

The impact of the world financial crisis on nutrition was a hot topic at this year’s International Congress on Nutrition (ICN) in Granada, Spain. The line that resonated with me during the opening ceremony was: “In times of financial crisis, we must be strategic”.

I agree and wonder: can the financial crisis help us change diets in a positive way?

When the economy changes, shifts in dietary habits are inevitable and … Continue Reading

AICR Cancer Prevention Research Conference

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Glen Weldon the Director of Education and Communications at the American Institute for Cancer Research, which is a part of the WCRF Global Network. 

Last month, just outside Washington DC, AICR hosted our Annual Research Conference. This year, as ever, the attendees were an intriguing mix of researchers, epidemiologists, clinicians, nurses, dietitians, policy makers and members of the media. Given an audience so diverse, the Program Committee had their work cut out for them as they strove to offer sessions that appealed to a broad spectrum of interests and experience; feedback … Continue Reading

Science and social media – is there a place for it?

Social mediaWorking in communications I frequently hear scientists say that social media isn’t for them – their work is too complex, too nuanced and too difficult to explain on social networking sites such as Facebook or in 140 characters on Twitter.

While there may be some truth in this, I believe that there are strong arguments for scientists to use these powerful tools to reach beyond the scientific sector to different audiences.

The way people access information has changed and we need to think more broadly about where people outside of the scientific … Continue Reading

The policies we need to promote healthier diets: the NOURISHING Framework

UnknownThe question we are most often asked by the public health community and governments is “what policies really work to prevent cancer, obesity and non-communicable diseases?”

The problem

The world has woken up to the fact that over one billion adults worldwide are obese, and that non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cancer, are the world’s largest killers. Between them, they impose enormous strains on health systems. In low- and middle-income countries they are a major threat to development.

That governments agreed a set of voluntary global targets at the World Health Assembly is testament to … Continue Reading

Preventing endometrial cancer: updating the evidence

RWJMS0924Elisa V. Bandera is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Rutgers School of Public Health. She is a panel member for the Continuous Update Project (CUP).

Today WCRF International released the latest CUP findings about preventing endometrial cancer. As a CUP panel member I have lead responsibility on this issue, and over the years I’ve grown more confident than ever that maintaining a healthy weight and engaging in regular exercise will reduce endometrial cancer risk.

Approximately six years ago, I led … Continue Reading

Top tips for submitting a strong WCRF research application

Screen Shot 2013-08-14 at 16.04.39The WCRF International grant application process for 2013/2014 is now open and we are receiving outline applications from around the world, except the Americas. (Applicants based in the Americas should submit through our US office, AICR.) 

Our Grant Programme funds research that links diet, physical activity, body weight and cancer. We’re passionate about increasing scientific knowledge in this field and we would like to hear from you. 

Here are some application tips from my experience of overseeing the WCRF Grant Programme and interacting with the scientists that … Continue Reading

Why bother?

Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 17.26.02When I talk with friends or acquaintances about the fact that there are things we can do to prevent cancer, I often get the old adage quoted back at me that, “we have to die of something”. For all of us, that’s true. But the unspoken subtext is “so why bother doing anything?”

A complex problem

Certainly the situation isn’t straightforward. Cancer rates are going up, fuelled by factors that are to an extent out of our control. We’re living longer and cancer is mainly a disease of older … Continue Reading

A critical win for health

C.Adams blog picCary Adams is the Chief Executive Officer of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC).

Two years of hard work has gone into developing a functional global framework to prevent and control Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs). So its adoption in the ground-breaking Omnibus Resolution at the recent World Health Assembly (WHA) (27 May 2013) marks the beginning of a new chapter in tackling global health issues.

The Omnibus Resolution

The Omnibus Resolution fulfils commitments made in the UN Political Declaration to prevent and control NCDs globally, that was agreed in September 2011 … Continue Reading

Weight, cancer and the 2 day diet

Michelle HarvieThis is the third in a series of four blog posts that explore key research topics from our recent conference: Obesity, physical activity and cancer.

 Dr Michelle Harvie is a research dietitian from the Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention Centre, University Hospital South Manchester Trust. Her research covers optimum diet and exercise strategies to prevent breast cancer and its recurrence.

One of the biggest threats to a person’s health is putting on weight as they get older. In the UK the average person will gain around 14 pounds (7 kg) as they … Continue Reading

Adopt the UN Resolution to tackle the world’s biggest killers

Two years after the adoption of the United Nations Political Declaration on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), the time has come for governments to reaffirm their commitment to tackling what have become the world’s biggest killers – cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and respiratory diseases.

The World Health Assembly

At the annual World Health Assembly meeting in Geneva next week NCDs feature prominently on the agenda, a reflection of the increasing recognition worldwide of the need to address NCDs as a priority.

The decisions taken at this Assembly of 194 countries … Continue Reading

What we do and don’t know about physical activity and cancer

Kate WolinThis is the second in a series of four blog posts that explore key research topics from our recent conference: Obesity, physical activity and cancer.

Kate Wolin, ScD, FACSM  is an Associate Professor of Public Health Sciences at Loyola University Chicago. Her research focuses on the role of physical activity and obesity in cancer prevention and post diagnosis outcomes.

Hundreds of studies have shown exercise reduces risk of several common cancers, but we still have much to learn about this important prevention tool.

Data consistently shows individuals who are … Continue Reading

Obesity, physical activity and cancer

WCRF International has joined forces with the International Association for the Study of Obesity (IASO) to hold a conference designed to foster scientific understanding and progress in the field of obesity, physical activity and cancer and to help shape the future scientific agenda in this exciting research area. This is the first in a series of four blog posts that will explore some of the key conference topics.

Michael Leitzmann, M.D., Dr.P.H., chairs the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at the University of Regensburg, Germany. His main research … Continue Reading

On the balance of probabilities

Jonathan Liberman is the Director of the McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer.

At our recent McCabe Centre – Norwegian Cancer Society workshop, ‘Using the law effectively for cancer control in Europe’, WCRF International’s Corinna Hawkes posed some interesting questions about the nature and role of evidence in the development, implementation and defence of regulation.

Corinna posed her questions in relation to diet and nutrition policy in particular, but they are relevant and timely across other areas of cancer (and NCD) prevention more broadly, including tobacco and alcohol policy.

Evidence

There are, of course, … Continue Reading

Evaluation of mechanistic studies: the next puzzle piece

WCRF is developing a new method to review mechanistic research.

When it comes to research it always feels like I’m slipping pieces into a jigsaw puzzle. Sometimes you can see the picture even if you don’t have every piece but it’s always clearer the more pieces there are in place. One new piece for WCRF is the development of a process to systematically review mechanistic studies. While we’ve had a similar process for epidemiological (epi) studies for years, we’re now looking to take analysis of mechanistic studies to the next level.

New … Continue Reading

Trust, trust, trust – and legislation

Corinna Hawkes is the Head of Policy and Public Affairs for WCRF International. She is a specialist in food policy and Honorary Fellow at the Centre for Food Policy, City University, London.

What’s the role of legislation in modern society, a society so big, so global, that even in our own local, lived out lives, it is impossible to have personal relationships with everyone?

Why do we have legislation?

Some years ago I was involved in a report that looked at the issue of food waste. During the process, I came across an interesting … Continue Reading

Nutrition and chronic diseases

Professor Martin Wiseman is the Medical and Scientific Adviser with World Cancer Research Fund International and a visiting professor at Southampton University.

What is it about nutrition that makes it important for the prevention of so many chronic diseases?

One of the most striking illustrations of the scope for preventing cancer is the huge variation in its occurrence – the different patterns around the globe, and how relatively rapidly they can change. And that variation is a key to understanding the causes of cancer.

 

Susceptibility

What has become clear is that the main factors that … Continue Reading

The Media and Cancer Myths: Cause or Cure?

Dr Helen Jamison is Deputy Director of the Science Media Centre, an independent press office helping to ensure the public have access to the best scientific evidence and expertise through the news media when science hits the headlines.

Enter the word “cancer” into any internet search engine and you will be bombarded by results. Switch on the television or open your daily newspaper and the effect is the same: hundreds of articles about cancer, its causes and cures, the latest scare or breakthrough. Cancer is one of the media’s most … Continue Reading

Nudge or push? Voluntary vs legislative approaches to public health

Changing people’s behaviour is complex, and at the root of many health issues. Should they be gently nudged to make healthier choices or have those choices effectively made for them? It’s a question that often confronts those of us working in health.

People’s behaviour is already influenced by their existing social, economic and physical circumstances, and policies that address these can help tip the balance from an obesogenic environment towards one that makes it easier to make healthier choices. After all, it’s clear that pricing and availability influence consumer behaviour … Continue Reading

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