Next Enrollment Deadline: May 03, 2024 For More Information Call 800-542-1553 Now.

Overweight Women Have a Higher Risk of Developing These 5 Cancers

September 28, 2016
Read All News
The more years a woman is overweight, the greater her risk of cancer, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The France-based agency studied 74,000 women ages 50-79 years old from the Women’s Health Initiative’s database. Within a 12-year period, 6,300 women developed breast, colon, kidney, liver, ovarian or pancreatic cancer. Those five types of cancer are statistically proven links to obesity. Researchers also identified a trend between the years a woman is obese to cancer development risks. For every 10 years a woman is overweight, the probability of cancer rises 10 percent. Additionally, 20 percent of all cancer deaths are related to excess weight. “We’ve known for a long time that excess weight is important to cancer risk,” said Susan Gapstur, the vice president of epidemiology at the American Cancer Society. Gapstur was not involved in the study. The reason obesity is linked to cancer has to do with lifestyle choices. According to lead researcher Melina Arnold, habits like a poor diet and no exercise often went hand-in-hand with obesity and cancer. The longer this lifestyle is maintained, the higher the risk. “The study is interesting, because it also suggests that the number of years you spend being overweight also matters,” added Gapstur. According to the World Health Organization, 15 percent of women and 11 percent of men worldwide are obese, totaling in over 1 billion adults. In the United States alone, 7 out of 10 adults are overweight. The American Heart Association defines obesity as “too much body fat.” While a woman’s excess weight may develop cancer, studies show that obese men have a higher risk of premature death. “The excess risk of premature death is about three times as big for a man who gets fat as for a woman who gets fat,” said Richard Peto, a researcher at Oxford University. Peto conducted a separate study on how BMI affects mortality rates. Peto’s study also found that overweight people die prematurely by one year, while moderately obese individuals die around three years earlier than expected. In North America and Europe, obesity is the second leading cause of premature death. “Men tend to be higher risk for earlier death in general, and the risk worsens when obesity is added to the equation,” Peto added. What is Arnold’s key takeaway from the study? Keep a long-term, healthy weight. “Having a healthy body weight is always beneficial – not only to prevent cancer, but also other diseases associated with (excess weight)” she said. The American Heart Association recommends a three-pronged approach to weight loss:
  • Eating fewer calories
  • Exercising regularly
  • Changing unhealthy behaviors
While the association acknowledges “there is no magic diet for weight loss,” studies show that even a small amount of weight loss can significantly improve one’s health. “Sustained weight loss of just five percent can significantly lower blood pressure, blood glucose and improve blood lipids,” said Frank Hu, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health. “The bottom line is simple. Try to maintain a healthy weight throughout adulthood,” Gapstur said.
Apply Now Request More Info