Wow. I knew obesity caused all sorts of health problems including heart troubles and diabetes but I never thought of it in conjunction with cancer. This report on the CBS News web site caught my attention. I actually did only quit smoking 6 months ago. (Yay! for me)
The report, "Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective" is 500 pages and took seven years to prepare.
Authors call the report "the most comprehensive ever published on the evidence linking cancer risk to diet, physical activity and weight."
They conclude that, "Even small amounts of excess body fat, especially around the middle, can make cancer more likely."
As obesity rates soar, the list of cancers associated with those extra pounds is growing: "Breast cancer, particularly post-menopausal breast cancer, cancer of the large bowel, and cancer of the pancreas, those are the three big ones."
The report also cites red meat as a big cancer risk raiser. The researchers say 18 ounces - barely more than a pound - is all the red meat a person should eat in a week.
Other things to limit include alcohol, salt and sugary drinks.
There are things we should do, such as eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and get plenty of exercise - at least a half-hour a day.
Breastfeeding is a strong offset to cancer for the mother and the child.
"One of the most interesting things in this report is an estimate that only 5 to 10 percent of cancers result directly from genes that we inherit from our parents. There is much we can do to reduce our risk. Most cancers occur when genetic material inside our cells is altered or damaged over time. To the extent that diet, nutrition and physical activity can influence those cellular changes, the report says that making those lifestyle choices can make a positive difference."
The report also cites body growth rates as possible cancer risk factors. For instance, it notes evidence that tallness, and high-birth rates in females, could increase cancer risks.
To see summaries of major sections of the report, click here.