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Time to Shed a Few: Excess pounds may increase your cancer risk

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We live in a society that values the lean body, yet our society is growing fatter. The Centers for Disease Control reports that the obesity rate is 20 percent or higher in all 50 states, with 12 states having rates of 30 percent or higher. Consider these statistics in America alone: 32 percent of men are obese, as well as 35 percent of women and 32 percent of children.

Why are we fat?

Obesity is not just an American problem. It is a worldwide epidemic. The key question is “Why is obesity such an increasing problem in developed countries?” Here are just a few reasons why:

  • We sit too much— most jobs require sitting at a computer. When we get home, we sit some more.
  • We have sedentary hobbies— we spend an average of 4.5 hours in front of the T.V., computer or video games in the evenings.
  • We go out to eat more than cooking at home— eating at home allows us to have better control of ingredients and portion sizes.
  • We have replaced walking with driving— Gone are the days when our feet were enough to get us where we needed to go. We rely on cars for almost all our transportation, and only 4 percent of the population does the recommended 30 minutes of exercise per day (Source: Huffington Post).

Obesity and cancer risk

Being obese is not just about how your body looks; being overweight affects overall health and puts you at higher risk for cancer. According to the UK’s medical journal called The Lancet, having a higher body mass index (BMI) makes you more at risk for cancers of the breast, ovary, uterus, gallbladder, kidney, liver, cervix, thyroid and colon as well as leukemia. How much BMI affects cancer risk varies by tumor type, but weight is the “heaviest” factor when it comes to cancer of the uterus. BBC News stated that carrying extra pounds increases your risk for uterine cancer by 62 percent, followed by gallbladder at 31 percent and kidney cancer at 25 percent.

How heavy is too heavy?

Researchers found that every 28 to 35 additional pounds was clearly linked with an increased risk for uterine, gallbladder and kidney cancer as well as cervical and thyroid cancer and leukemia. Overweight individuals are also at a slightly increased risk for developing prostate cancer and premenopausal breast cancer.

What is the answer to obesity?

One good way to cure the obesity problem is with our fork. Our busy society relies on fast food, processed food and prepared food that is high in fat and poor in nutrition. Tam Fry of the National Obesity Forum said, “We have to ditch this love-in with the food industry and start penalizing those who continue to make unhealthy choices. We are now starting to reap the rewards of decades of food interaction and unwillingness to do anything about obesity and its consequences” (Source: Red Orbit).

Our society needs a wake-up call, and sadly it might take an increase in disease and illness for us to realize what we are doing to ourselves. If you want help managing your weight, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss effective ways to lose excess pounds and adopt a healthier lifestyle so you can maintain your weight. You may be adding years to your life!

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posted on October 8, 2014 in news