The overall rate of new cancer diagnoses -- also known as incidence -- among men decreased by an average of 0.6 percent per year from 2004 to 2008. For women, the rate declined 0.5 percent per year from 1998 through 2006 with rates leveling off from 2006 through 2008, the report said. For children 19 and under, however, the incidence rate rose 0.6 percent per year, continuing a trend from 1992.
"This report demonstrates the value of cancer registry data in identifying the links among physical inactivity, obesity, and cancer," Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, said in a statement. "It also provides an update of how we are progressing in the fight against cancer by identifying populations with unhealthy behaviors and high cancer rates that can benefit from targeted, lifesaving strategies and interventions to improve lifestyle behaviors and support healthy environments."
For more than 30 years, excess weight, insufficient physical activity and an unhealthy diet have been second only to tobacco as preventable causes of disease and death in the United States, Frieden said.
The Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975-2008, was co-authored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society.
The study was published online ahead of print of the May issue of the journal Cancer.