Poll: Americans Unaware of Fat/Cancer Connection

HealthDay reporter Meryl Hyman Harris reports that the connection between obesity and cancer is, sadly, a well-kept secret.

More U.S. citizens know the correct number of judges on American Idol than know that being fat helps cause cancer.


According to a new poll of more than 2,000 adults for the American Cancer Society, just 8 percent were aware of the link between being overweight and cancer risk, but 65 percent knew how the popular TV show works.

Experts say the obesity-cancer connection needs a lot more press.

The problem "has to do with communication from the health profession, which includes us as registered dieticians," said David Grotto, a spokesman for the American Dietetic Association. "We need to do a better job of communicating the risk of obesity with many types of diseases."

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Helena - May 22, 2006 3:25 PM

When I learned about this connection it was one of the major triggers to decide to lose weight. Before then, I thought that the big danger in being overweight was not being active and eating unhealthy. The fact that those fat cells themselves cause disease was new for me.

Leanne - May 23, 2006 2:32 AM

I think the fact that the link between diet and cancer itself is being kept under wraps is appalling.

People still think that cancer 'just happens' and tha you're just 'unlucky' if you get it, and that there's nothing you can do to prevent it. To suggest that diet plays a role in cancer prevention is seen as totally left-field.

Linda - May 23, 2006 8:58 AM

I think so too, Leanne; it seems most people think you catch it or it's something you have no control over. I guess, for a percentage that may be true (no control); but why wouldn't one want to do everything possible to prevent it? It's not that painful to take care of oneself. It really is depressing to know that, for the bottom line, people are sacrificed. I guess if it's humans en masse, it's easier for big dogs (governments/conventional medicine), wagged by their tails (corporations) to do. I wonder, though, what excuses doctors tell themselves? They actually do put faces to the diseases.

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