More than 80,000 cancer cases were associated with suboptimal diet in US adults in 2015, a study just published online in JNCI: Cancer Spectrum has noted.

Fang Fang Zhang, MD, PhD, from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston, and colleagues estimated the annual number and proportion of new cancer cases attributable to suboptimal intakes of 7 dietary factors. The authors used a model that incorporated nationally representative data on dietary intake, national cancer incidence, and estimated associations of diet with cancer risk.

The researchers found that suboptimal diet accounted for an estimated 80,110 new cancer cases, representing 5.2% of all new cancer cases in 2015. Of these, 4.4 and 0.82% were attributable to direct associations and to obesity-mediated associations.

Colorectal cancer had the highest number and proportion of diet-related cases by cancer type (38.3%). Low consumption of whole grains and dairy products and high intake of processed meats contributed to the highest burden (1.8, 1.2, and 1.0%, respectively).

The highest proportion of diet-associated cancer burden was seen for men, middle-aged individuals (45 to 64 years), and racial/ethnic minorities compared with other age, sex, and race/ethnicity groups.

“Our findings underscore the needs for reducing cancer burden and disparity in the United States by improving the intake of key food groups and nutrients of Americans,” the authors wrote.


REFERENCE: Zhang et al. Preventable Cancer Burden Associated with Poor Diet in the United States. JNCI Canc Spect.