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The Washington Post reports that a new federal study issued by the President’s Cancer Panel says that lifestyle changes – specifically eating right, maintaining an optimum weight, exercising, and not smoking – could have an enormous impact in trying to continue the decline in cancer deaths in the US.

"We tried to think of what would have the biggest impact on reducing cancer mortality," said ," said panel member Margaret L. Kripke, executive vice president and chief academic officer at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. "If you consider that 15 to 20 percent of cancer deaths are related to obesity and another 30 percent of cancer deaths are due to tobacco use, that's 50 percent of all people with cancer."
KC's View:
On the one hand, saying that “eating right, exercising and not smoking can help lead to fewer cancer deaths” sounds like it ought to be relegated to the “Department of the Painfully Obvious.”

But one interesting part of the study, according to the Post story, comes in the panel’s call for a “culture of wellness” in America – and that includes coordinating agricultural and nutrition policies in the US. This would mean doing things like curtailing corn subsidies for farmers.

"Subsidies for corn make corn syrup very cheap and it's not nutritionally what you want in all of your foods," Kripke tells the Post. "It might make more sense to make agricultural subsidies for fruits and vegetables that would be more healthy for the population."

That’s interesting logic. It doesn’t seem to take ethanol into account, but actual coordination of policies by the US government sounds like it might be worth pursuing. Unlikely, of course. Because it actually would make sense…