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Cancer risk could increase with consumption of certain foods and drinks, study finds

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Cancer risk could increase with consumption of certain foods and drinks, study finds

Consuming certain foods and drinks could put people at a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer (CRC), according to a new study published in the journal Nutrients.

Researchers from the Zhejiang University School of Medicine in China analyzed 139 dietary factors and their impact on the risk of developing colorectal cancer (CRC).

The participants included 118,210 people who participated in the long-running UK Biobank study — all of whom completed online questionnaires about their food intake

PATIENTS WITH METASTATIC COLORECTAL CANCER COULD FIND HOPE IN NEW FDA-APPROVED TREATMENT

After a mean follow-up of 12.8 years, the researchers identified eight foods that were shown to influence CRC risk.

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The first two, alcohol and white bread, were found to increase the risk, regardless of genetic factors.

Consuming certain foods and drinks could put people at a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer, according to a new study just published.  (iStock)

Previous studies also linked alcohol with increased cancer risk

WHITE BREAD VS. WHOLE WHEAT BREAD: IS ONE ‘BETTER’ FOR YOU?

“Ethanol in any type of alcoholic beverage is a known risk factor for CRC because its first metabolite, acetaldehyde, has been evaluated as a human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research,” the study authors wrote.

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The white bread-related risk is also consistent with previous studies, they noted.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer among U.S. adults, according to the American Cancer Society.

“Notably, whole grains are a major source of many vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that have anti-cancer properties and may influence CRC risk through several potential mechanisms,” the authors wrote.

The other six dietary elements – fiber, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and carbohydrate intake – were all found to lower the risk of colorectal cancer, the researchers found.

whole wheat vs white bread split

The white bread-related risk is also consistent with previous studies, as “whole grains are a major source of many vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that have anti-cancer properties,” the study authors wrote. (iStock)

The remaining foods did not show any impact on CRC risk.

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These results persisted after adjusting for such factors as family history, age, gender, socioeconomic deprivation and education.

Fox News Digital reached out to the study authors for comment.

“The findings of this study reaffirm the well-established connection between lifestyle and dietary choices and the prevention of colorectal cancer.”

Misagh Karimi, M.D., a medical oncologist and colorectal cancer specialist at City of Hope Orange County Lennar Foundation Cancer Center in Irvine, California, was not involved in the study but offered his reaction to its results.

“The findings of this study reaffirm the well-established connection between lifestyle and dietary choices and the prevention of colorectal cancer,” he told Fox News Digital. 

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Woman drinking beer

Previous studies have linked alcohol with increased cancer risk.  (iStock)

“These findings emphasize the critical importance of adopting a healthy lifestyle and dietary habits, which include limiting alcohol consumption and choosing a diet rich in high-fiber foods to mitigate the risk of cancer,” Karimi added.

While the study doesn’t negate the importance of considering genetic factors in cancer risk, the doctor noted that it does underscore the impact diet can have on cancer prevention.

DRINKING ALCOHOL WEEKLY COULD BE CONNECTED TO 61 DIFFERENT DISEASES, STUDY FINDS

“This study also stands out because of its size and design,” said Karimi.

“It involved a large sample population of 500,000 middle-aged people, a long follow-up period and a comprehensive assessment of dietary factors.”

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Colon cancer

Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer among U.S. adults, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).  (iStock)

The study did have one important limitation, however.

“As the researchers state, analysis was limited to a European population,” noted Karimi. 

“To ensure the applicability of these findings to diverse populations, further studies are needed to validate these results on a wider population.”

COLORECTAL CANCER IS SHOWING UP IN YOUNGER PEOPLE AND AT MORE ADVANCED STAGES: STUDY

Erin Palinski-Wade, a New Jersey-based registered dietitian, also weighed in on the findings. She was not involved in the study.

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“These results make sense, as diets rich in simple sugars along with excessive alcohol can increase cancer risk, especially for those who carry an increased genetic risk of developing cancer,” she told Fox News Digital. 

“However, it is important to remember that this research shows association, not causation,” she said.

greek salad

A dietitian recommends looking at the full picture of one’s dietary and lifestyle behaviors over time to assess and improve risk factors. (iStock)

It is possible that a person who eats larger amounts of white bread consumes lower amounts of whole grains and fiber overall, the dietitian pointed out.

“And since fiber reduces the risk of colorectal cancer, consuming a diet low in fiber can increase risk, not the white bread itself,” she said. 

REDUCE YOUR COLON CANCER RISK WITH REGULAR SCREENINGS

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With alcohol intake, Palinski-Wade noted that quantity and frequency will have a significant impact on disease risk. 

“In addition, we do not know what other lifestyle behaviors those consuming alcohol regularly in this research engaged in,” she said.

colorectal cancer

In 2023, it is expected that 106,970 new cases of colon cancer and 46,050 new cases of rectal cancer will be diagnosed. (iStock)

While the research highlights that eating more fiber and more whole foods can be beneficial in reducing cancer risk, Palinski-Wade noted that diet is not the only factor in cancer risk. 

“In addition, one specific food, such as white bread, will not make or break your health,” she added. 

“The overall nutrition quality of your full diet, day after day, will have the biggest impact.”

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While the dietitian recommends choosing whole grains over refined grains when possible, she said that doesn’t mean it’s necessary to avoid white bread altogether or that abstaining from eating it will automatically lower the risk.

“Instead, you should look at the full picture of your dietary and lifestyle behaviors consistently over time to assess and improve your own risk factors,” she said.

Cheeseburger and fries

A diet that is low in fruits, vegetables and fiber — or is high in fat or processed meats — can contribute to a higher risk, according to the CDC. (iStock)

Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer among U.S. adults, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). 

In 2023, it is expected that 106,970 new cases of colon cancer and 46,050 new cases of rectal cancer will be diagnosed.

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While rates have been dropping among older adults in recent decades, they have been rising among people under 50, increasing 1% to 2% per year since the mid-1990s, per the ACS.

Dietary factors are known to contribute to a higher risk of these types of cancers.

A diet that is low in fruits, vegetables and fiber — or high in fat or processed meats — can contribute to a higher risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Alcohol consumption and tobacco use can also increase the risk, the health agency stated.

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Weight-loss medications are not effective without ‘nutrition therapy,’ experts say

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Weight-loss medications are not effective without ‘nutrition therapy,’ experts say

People who are on weight-loss journeys should not rely solely on anti-obesity medications, according to a statement from a national nutrition association.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics released the statement on March 4, which is World Obesity Day.

“The academy calls on the medical community, including pharmaceutical manufacturers of anti-obesity medications, obesity medicine providers and other health care practitioners specializing in obesity, to enhance the efficacy of these medications and maximize patient success rates by including a referral for medical nutrition therapy from a registered dietitian nutritionist alongside prescriptions for anti-obesity medications,” said Dr. Lauri Wright, PhD, president of the Chicago-based academy.

OBESITY IS ‘EXPLODING,’ WITH MORE THAN 12% OF PEOPLE CLASSIFIED AS OBESE WORLDWIDE, STUDY FINDS: ‘BIG TROUBLE’

“The anti-obesity medications alone will not end obesity unless they are combined with a collaborative, interprofessional approach that includes policy changes to reduce health inequity and disparity,” she also said in the release. 

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In a statement to Fox News Digital, Wright emphasized the need to overcome obstacles to obesity treatment. 

People on weight-loss journeys should not rely solely on anti-obesity medications, a national nutrition association said on Monday, March 4. (iStock)

“We must reevaluate how we treat and prevent obesity by increasing access to nutritious food and for health insurance plans to cover nutrition services,” she said. 

“Medical nutrition therapy and intensive behavioral therapy provided by a registered dietitian nutritionist are both proven and cost-effective.”

Man with obesity

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics released its statement on March 4, which is World Obesity Day. “We must reevaluate how we treat and prevent obesity by increasing access to nutritious food and for health insurance plans to cover nutrition services,” the president of the group said.  (iStock)

Semaglutides, a class of medications known as GLP-1 receptor agonists — including Ozempic (prescribed for diabetes management), Wegovy (prescribed for weight loss), Rybelsus (type 2 diabetes) and Saxenda (weight loss) — have been spiking in popularity in recent years.

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The number of people in the U.S. using GLP-1 agonists for either diabetes or obesity reached 40 million in 2022, research has shown.

OZEMPIC AND WEGOVY OVERDOSE CALLS HAVE SPIKED, EXPERTS SAY — HERE’S WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT DANGEROUS DOSES

In the academy’s statement, Wright referred to obesity as “a complex, chronic and progressive disease associated with serious complications and risk of mortality.”

“Recognizing World Obesity Day during National Nutrition Month is an opportunity to reevaluate how we best utilize anti-obesity medications to ensure that every patient has access to both lifestyle interventions and safe and effective medications that can improve the health of many adults in the U.S.,” she added.

Ozempic medication

Semaglutides, a class of medications known as GLP-1 receptor agonists — including Ozempic (prescribed for diabetes management), Wegovy (prescribed for weight loss), Rybelsus (type 2 diabetes) and Saxenda (weight loss) — have spiked in popularity in recent years. (Getty Images)

The academy said it plans to release a white paper in the spring, which will have detailed recommendations for lifestyle interventions.

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Doctors share thoughts on the academy’s stance

Dr. Marc Siegel, clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor, responded to the statement in a conversation with Fox News Digital.

“It is important that we put a spotlight on this huge burgeoning problem during World Obesity Day,” he said.

OZEMPIC, THE HAPPY DRUG? STUDY SUGGESTS WEIGHT-LOSS MEDICATIONS COULD REDUCE DEPRESSION, ANXIETY

“With over one billion obese people in the world and over a 40% obesity rate in the U.S., we have a huge problem.”

While Siegel is in agreement with the academy’s stance, he noted that not everyone with obesity needs to be on a weight-loss medication.

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Nutritionist appointment

Obesity management requires a multi-pronged approach that combines proper nutrition and exercise — and takes psychosocial factors into account, one doctor told Fox News Digital. (iStock)

“The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is right to spotlight this, but wrong to imply that this shifting focus needs to include a prescription for an anti-obesity medication, presumably a semaglutide (Ozempic, Wegovy) or a tirzepatide (Mounjaro, Zepbound).”

Given the “tremendous shortage” of these drugs, Siegel warned that many diabetics who need them can’t get them.

“And at the same time, not everyone tolerates them well, and we don’t have a complete handle yet on long-term side effects,” the doctor noted.

VIBRATING WEIGHT LOSS PILL COULD PROVIDE ALTERNATIVE TO OZEMPIC AND WEGOVY, RESEARCHERS SAY

“I certainly think they are useful — and can think of many situations where they decrease risks of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer as well as the need for bariatric surgery — but they are surely not one size fits all and are mostly not first-line therapy.”

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To promote healthy weight management, Siegel recommended increasing daily exercise and adopting a diet rich in vegetables and fiber and lower in “empty calories.”

“With over one billion obese people in the world and over a 40% obesity rate in the U.S., we have a huge problem.”

Dr. Brett Osborn, a Florida neurologist and longevity expert, is a big proponent of semaglutide medications as a “highly potent” treatment in the fight against obesity.

“They are indeed the holy grail of modern-day medicine and will likely have a similar effect on worldwide health as the advent of antibiotics in the early 1900s,” he predicted to Fox News Digital. 

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Osborn said he agrees with the academy’s recommendation.

“The management of obesity is complex,” he told Fox News Digital. “It is best done through a multi-pronged approach that emphasizes proper nutrition, exercise and psychosocial factors. One cannot anticipate long-term and sustainable results without all three.”

Close up shot of a woman holding a plate of fresh green salad in the beautiful morning light. She's holding a fork and she's about to eat the vegetarian food. Healthy eating and diet concept. Shallow depth of field with focus on the fork.

To promote healthy weight management, a diet should be rich in vegetables and fiber, and lower in “empty calories,” said one physician.  (iStock)

Medications like Ozempic and Mounjaro have “changed the landscape of obesity management,” Osborn said. 

“By sending a robust satiety signal to the brain, these medications force the brain to ‘just say no,’ equating to a caloric deficit and weight loss,” he said. 

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“But absent exercise and a properly designed macronutrient-based food regimen with its full complement of protein, fats and carbohydrates, one may develop a relatively malnourished state … and a compromised immune system.”

For this reason, Osborn recommended that medications like Ozempic and Mounjaro should always be prescribed along with nutrition and exercise counseling. 

Fox News Digital reached out to Novo Nordisk, maker of Ozempic and Wegovy, for comment.

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Cancer risk rises with this little-known syndrome. Here’s how to know if you have the genetic condition

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Cancer risk rises with this little-known syndrome. Here’s how to know if you have the genetic condition

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As colorectal cancer continues to spike among younger patients, doctors are warning of a little-known but widespread condition that greatly increases the risk.

Lynch syndrome is a genetic disorder that makes someone more susceptible to many different kinds of cancer.

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Fox News Digital spoke with two experts about what people should know about this inherited condition.

CANCER PREVENTION IN THE ESOPHAGUS COULD BE JUST A PILL AWAY, DOCTOR SAYS: ‘TREMENDOUS BENEFIT’

Dr. Matthew Grossman, an interventional endoscopist and gastroenterologist with Atlantic Health System in New Jersey, explained the relationship between Lynch syndrome and human DNA.

“Think of DNA as a ladder,” he said. “Normally, errors in the rungs — called mismatches — are fixed by a repair system. In Lynch syndrome, this system is faulty, increasing the risk of mismatches.”

Lynch syndrome is a genetic disorder that makes someone more susceptible to many different kinds of cancer. (iStock)

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Because of the mismatch repair defect, a person with Lynch syndrome is much more likely to develop abnormalities and defects in cells, which eventually lead to cancer, he said.

“Lynch syndrome is a type of germline mutation, meaning it’s inherited genetically, versus a somatic mutation, which can happen spontaneously to only a few cells,” said Grossman.

DOCTORS TOLD WOMAN SHE WAS TOO YOUNG FOR A COLONOSCOPY. THEN SHE WAS DIAGNOSED WITH STAGE 3 COLON CANCER

Dr. Ajay Bansal, a gastroenterologist at KU Medical Center at the University of Kansas, emphasized that Lynch syndrome largely flies under the radar, as 95% of patients who have the condition don’t know about it.

“They are not aware that they are at increased risk for not only colon cancer, but also uterine, ovarian, stomach, small bowel, kidney, bladder and perhaps brain cancer,” he told Fox News Digital. “So it’s very underdiagnosed.”

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DNA testing

In healthy DNA, errors in the rungs — called mismatches — are fixed by a repair system. In Lynch syndrome, the repair system is faulty, increasing the risk of mismatches, a doctor explained. (iStock)

One of the reasons the syndrome often goes unnoticed is because it’s a “silent” condition, Bansal said. “It doesn’t cause any symptoms until you have cancer.”

The two main cancers tied to the syndrome are colon and colorectal cancer and cancer of the uterus.

“Lynch syndrome can result from four or five different mutations,” Bansal said. “Depending on the mutation, the type of cancer risk changes.”

COLORECTAL CANCER IS NOW LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH AMONG YOUNG ADULTS WITH CANCER: NEW REPORT

For example, for those who have a mutation in a gene called MLH1, the risk of getting colorectal cancer at some point in their lifetime is 80%, Bansal warned.

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Among young-onset colorectal cancers, the doctor estimated that roughly 25% are a result of Lynch syndrome.

How is Lynch syndrome detected?

Lynch syndrome can be diagnosed by either a blood test or saliva test, Bansal said.

“If a patient has a family history of multiple colon cancers or multiple other cancers in the family, or if somebody in the family had colon cancer or uterine cancer under the age of 50, we recommend genetic testing to confirm the syndrome,” he said.

Man blood test

Lynch syndrome can be diagnosed through either a blood test or saliva test. (iStock)

Patients who fall into these categories are typically tested for Lynch between the ages of 18 to 25, the doctor said.

Universal genetic testing is not generally performed.

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“It’s not approved for the general population, mainly because of costs and insurance concerns,” Bansal noted.

CANCER RISK COULD INCREASE WITH CONSUMPTION OF CERTAIN FOODS AND DRINKS, STUDY FINDS

Before genetic testing was available, clinicians relied on the “3,2,1 criteria” for diagnosing Lynch syndrome, according to Grossman.

“For that criteria, if patients have three or more relatives with one of the affecting cancers on the same side of the family, and this is seen in two or more generations with at least one person under age 50, that is highly diagnostic of Lynch syndrome and they should discuss the condition with a doctor,” he said.

What happens if you’re diagnosed?

There is no treatment or “cure” for Lynch syndrome, as it’s caused by a genetic mutation. 

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Those who test positive should closely monitor themselves for the warning signs of cancer through regular screenings — especially colonoscopies, Bansal said.

Woman at doctor

Patients should talk to their primary care doctors about their family history, a doctor advised. (iStock)

In the general population, among people without Lynch syndrome, it is recommended to start colonoscopies at the age of 45. 

In patients with Lynch syndrome — especially those with more aggressive phenotypes and genotypes — Bansal recommended starting colonoscopies at the age of 25 and repeating them every one to two years.

“The idea here would be to monitor closely so we can prevent colon cancer by removing polyps or catching it at an early stage when we can treat it,” he said.

CANCER SCREENINGS: HERE ARE 5 TYPES AND CRITICAL INFORMATION TO KNOW ABOUT EACH

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Bansal, who specializes in studying vaccines for cancer prevention, is currently running a clinical trial for a new cancer vaccine. The participants are all people with Lynch syndrome.

“We felt that we had to do something to change the natural history of cancer in this high-risk population,” he told Fox News Digital.

In the trial, researchers are testing a combination of three vaccines that were initially created by a scientist at the National Cancer Institute. 

Lab testing

“If a patient has a family history of multiple colon cancers or multiple other cancers in the family, or if somebody in the family had colon cancer or uterine cancer under the age of 50, we recommend genetic testing to confirm the syndrome,” a doctor said. (iStock)

“These vaccines attack those cells in the colorectal area that express abnormal proteins, and then it can train the immune cells to get rid of those cells in the colon — and perhaps in other organs such as the stomach, small bowel, pancreas and uterus — before they turn into cancer or polyps.”

The first two safety phases of the trial have already been completed. 

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Next, the researchers will perform randomized controlled trials to gauge the effectiveness of the vaccines in keeping cancer at bay.

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If the trial is successful, Bansal said he envisions the vaccine extending to other types of cancers.

Bansal’s main advice to patients is to talk to their primary care doctors about their family history.

A doctor with a blue ribbon next to a colon cancer model

The two main cancers tied to the syndrome are colon and colorectal cancer and cancer of the uterus. (iStock)

“In medical care, everybody’s so busy that we don’t discuss family history enough,” he said. “Patients should ask their doctor about their family history of cancers and the possibility of genetic testing, which has become much cheaper than ever before.”

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Grossman agreed that it’s important to be aware of the risks associated with the genetic condition.

“Knowing you have Lynch syndrome allows for more frequent colonoscopies and additional cancer screenings that will help save lives,” he said. 

“This is a great example of how our increased knowledge of genetics has improved our clinical care.”

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Obesity is ‘exploding,’ with more than 12% of people classified as obese worldwide, study finds: ‘Big trouble’

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Obesity is ‘exploding,’ with more than 12% of people classified as obese worldwide, study finds: ‘Big trouble’

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One in every eight people globally qualifies as obese, according to a new study published in The Lancet on Feb. 29.

As of 2022, more than one billion people — 43% of adults — were living with obesity across the world, according to researchers from the NCD Risk Factor Collaboration, a global network of health scientists.

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The number of obese adults has more than doubled since 1990. 

Among children between ages five and 19, the obesity rate has quadrupled, according to a press release from the World Health Organization (WHO).

OZEMPIC AND WEGOVY OVERDOSE CALLS HAVE SPIKED, EXPERTS SAY — HERE’S WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT DANGEROUS DOSES

The researchers analyzed data from 3,663 population-based studies with 222 million participants, using different body mass index (BMI) measurements for adults, children and teens.

The data was collected between 1990 and 2022 across 200 countries and territories, according to the findings in The Lancet.

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One in every eight people globally qualifies as obese, according to a new study published in The Lancet. (iStock)

Out of the 200 countries, the U.S. ranked 36th for obesity.

“This new study highlights the importance of preventing and managing obesity from early life to adulthood, through diet, physical activity and adequate care, as needed,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO, in the release. 

OZEMPIC, THE HAPPY DRUG? STUDY SUGGESTS WEIGHT-LOSS MEDICATIONS COULD REDUCE DEPRESSION, ANXIETY

“Getting back on track to meet the global targets for curbing obesity will take the work of governments and communities, supported by evidence-based policies from WHO and national public health agencies,” he went on. 

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“Importantly, it requires the cooperation of the private sector, which must be accountable for the health impacts of their products.”

Man with obesity

The number of obese adults has more than doubled since 1990, researchers found, according to a new study published in The Lancet. (iStock)

Dr. Marc Siegel, clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor, said the world is in “big trouble” in terms of undernutrition and obesity. 

“In terms of undernutrition, it is a public health challenge in many places, including Asia and Africa, though overall rates have dropped,” Siegel, who was not involved in study, told Fox News Digital.

“We have far too much processed food with chemicals that produce weight gain.”

“By comparison, obesity is exploding,” he added.

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A primary cause of obesity is poor diet, including too many carbohydrates and fats and too few proteins and vegetables, according to the doctor.

“In poor areas, this may be cost-related in part,” he said.

What can be done?

In cases where it’s not an economic issue, Siegel suggested countering obesity by increasing the intake of vegetables, fiber and fish and decreasing the consumption of alcohol, bread, pasta, rice and desserts.

obese child at doctor's

Among children between five and 19 years of age, the obesity rate has quadrupled since 1990, a new study found. (iStock)

“We have far too much processed food with chemicals that produce weight gain,” said Siegel. “We should fight back by trying to use natural foods (farm to table) as much as possible.”

He also emphasized the importance of eating smaller portions, increasing water intake and exercising regularly to help reduce hunger and cravings.

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“We also have effective weight loss drugs — semaglutide (Ozempic and Wegovy) and tirzepatide (Mounjaro and Zepbound) — but they should be reserved for those who are truly obese and have failed lifestyle modifications above,” Siegel said.

Older couple eating

A primary cause of obesity is poor diet, including too many carbohydrates and fats and too few proteins and vegetables, according to Dr. Siegel. (iStock)

“Diabetics must be first in line for these drugs as production shortages are overcome, followed by those most in need, but they can certainly make a difference in terms of improving insulin function, improving efficiency of glucose metabolism and decreasing hunger.”

Obesity is a primary driver of the leading causes of death, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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Fox News Digital reached out to the study researchers for comment.

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