More Than 80,000 Cancer Cases In United States Tied To Poor Diet, Study Finds

A close-up of a cheeseburger and fries
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A new study found that more than 80,000 cancer cases in the United States were linked to poor diet — amounting to one out of every 20 cases of cancer diagnosed.

The study was published this week in the medical journal JNCI Cancer Spectrum, showing that people who had poor diet and lack of exercise had higher instances of diagnoses for a number of different forms of cancer. The study found that excessive body weight was linked to roughly 8 percent of cases and lack of physical activity was tied to between 2 percent and 3 percent of cancer cases.

Colorectal cancers had the most direct ties to poor diet, the study found. Close to 38 percent of colorectal cancers diagnosed in 2015 were found to be diet related, the study found.

This is not the first research to link poor diet and obesity with higher rates of cancer. As the National Cancer Institute reports, there is no conclusive correlation found between obesity and cancer, but there is consistent evidence that higher amounts of body fats are associated with increased risks of certain cancers, including liver cancer and kidney cancer.

People who are obese are sometimes two or three times more likely to be diagnosed with certain cancers, the organization noted.

“People who are overweight or obese are up to twice as likely as normal-weight people to develop liver cancer. The association between overweight/obesity and liver cancer is stronger in men than women,” the organization noted.

As ABC News reported, the study identified seven factors of diet that appeared to correspond with higher risks of cancer. That included low whole-grain intake, low dairy intake, high intake of processed meats and red meat, low fruit and vegetable intake, and high intake of sugary beverages, the report noted.

The results seem to counter a number of recent diet fads that seek to reduce or eliminate whole grains or restrict dairy. Low-carb diets have gained considerable popularity over the course of the last two decades, with a number of variations that call for either tight restriction or elimination of what was once considered a staple of the food pyramid.

The authors of the recent study linking cancer and poor diet said they hope the findings will underscore the importance of improving food intake. The authors recommended putting government-sponsored warning labels of red meats and other foods shown to be closely tied with cancer cases.

“Our results call for nutrition policies to address the U.S. cancer burden,” the authors noted in the study’s conclusions.