Recent Research Finds Cancer Risk Increases the Longer You’re Overweight

There are a wide variety of health problems associated with obesity, including diabetes, heart attack and stroke, but recent research has found that cancer is also a very serious concern for overweight people. Although obesity was already known as a risk factor for cancer, new studies have found that the longer a woman is overweight, the more likely she is to develop cancer.

overweightCurrently, obesity is to blame for around 500,000 cases of cancer every year around the world. In the US, excess weight is the cause of around 25% of cancer incidences – that makes it second only to smoking. CBS News reported on the correlation between the time being overweight and the increased risk of cancer, explaining that the chance of a woman developing cancer rises on average by 7% for every 10 years she is overweight, and by 10% for every 10 years she is obese. This goes to show that it’s never too late to start losing weight, because your health can deteriorate more the longer you remain overweight.

Why Does Obesity Contribute to Cancer?

There are a few different ways in which obesity can increase the risk of cancer. Firstly, fat cells produce an excess of estrogen, a female sex hormone, which some cancers are sensitive to. This can lead to an increase in the risk of endometrial and breast cancers. If a person carries excess fat and therefore excess estrogen for many years or decades, they are at a heightened risk of cancer. Secondly, obesity is linked with high inflammation levels in the body, which is known to contribute to the growth of cancerous cells.

It is also known that high-sugar diets increase the risk of cancer since they provide cancer cells with fuel. High-sugar diets are prevalent in those who are obese, as it is often sugar which leads to weight gain, so it makes sense that an obese person is more likely to consume more sugar, which increases the risk of cancer.

Reducing the Risk with a New Lifestyle

In order to reduce the risk of cancer, it’s important to not only lose excess weight but to adopt an all-round healthier lifestyle. This is because healthy lifestyles tend to improve multiple different aspects of our health and therefore reduce the various ways in which cancer can develop.

Mitochondria are tiny organelles which are the main source of energy production for our bodies. Good mitochondrial function is essential for good health, and in order to maintain high levels of mitochondrial function it is important to eat a balanced diet and take regular exercise. One universal feature of all types of cancer cells is that their mitochondrial function is significantly lower than healthy cells. It makes sense then that in order to minimize the risk of cancer, we should be maintaining a healthy lifestyle in order to keep mitochondrial health in check.

There is no quick fix to a healthy lifestyle; it’s not necessarily about cutting calories and working out a couple days each week until we reach our optimum weight. Although calorie and portion control is important, we must also pay attention to the amount of protein, healthy fats, fiber and vitamins and minerals in our diets.

We should also make exercise a permanent aspect of our lifestyle both during weight loss and after reaching our goal. There have been over 100 studies conducted to investigate the way in which exercise affects the risk of cancer, and it is clear from all that regular exercise does reduce the risk of a wide range of cancers.

It’s Never Too Soon to Make a Change

Breaking bad habits can be tough, but with it now being clear that the risk of cancer increases the longer you’re overweight, there is never a better time to begin your weight loss journey. By adopting a new, healthy lifestyle, you’ll drop the pounds and improve your health in a wide variety of ways in order to keep the risk of cancer as low as possible.