Diet and Exercise MATTERS for cancer preventionWe have heard over and over again, that by not smoking it will lower our risk of many cancers. If we are to avoid excessive alcohol intake it will also lower our risk of liver cancer. Now, it is also affirmed that eating a healthy diet along WITH regular exercise will also lower our risk of certain cancers.

It is just that straightforward: excessive body fat is linked to many types of cancer and other chronic diseases.

If we are not aware, and worse, if we are not exercising and changing the way we eat, weight gain will creep up on us. Studies have shown that young adults will gain about 1.5 pounds a year typically. This may not be very noticeable on your scales to you, but over the decades it will add up to significant extra weight if it goes unchecked.

Based on recent studies conducted by Women’ Health Initiative (WHI), researchers looked at how long women had been overweight before developing cancer as compared to those women who did not develop cancer. 74,000 postmenopausal women aged 50-79 had their wright and height measured when they entered the study and they were measured again 3 years later. They were asked to self-report on their weight and height back to when they were 18, 35 and 50, and also several times later in the study.

It was found that, the longer the women were overweight, the higher their risk for obesity-related cancers and they are namely:

  • colorectal
  • stomach
  • rectum
  • gallbladder
  • pancreatic
  • breast
  • endometrial
  • ovarian
  • liver
  • kidney
  • thyroid

For every 10 years of being in the overweight (BMI>25) as an adult, one increases their risk by 7%.

These results support our message to everyone, that it is NEVER too late to take action to lower your risk by avoiding weight gain or even to lose weight if you are currently above average. Due to the fact that cancer takes years to develop, it is more critical for us to take control over our lifestyle and to establish good habits in our diet and be diligent in keeping active with proper strength and cardiovascular training. The earlier you start the better it will be so that you will not have to store the excess body fat for a longer period of time. Whether your weight is at a healthy level, or you’ve been gaining more that is right for you, now is the right time to take action to NOT gain more weight.

In summary, this study has shown the risk of cancer associated with being overweight and obese, and it compounds over time: the longer the duration of being overweight and obese during adulthood, the higher the risks of several cancers.

Furthermore, the degree of overweight seems to play an important role in the risk of developing cancer, especially for endometrial cancer. Although the observational nature of the study precludes inferring causality or making clinical recommendations, the findings suggest that reducing overweight duration in adulthood could reduce cancer risk. If this is true, health care teams should recognize the potential of obesity management in cancer prevention, regardless of the age of the patient.





Study: Every decade of being overweight up cancer risk for women. Alice RD. Our Blog-American Institute of Cancer Research. 17th Aug 2016

It is not confusing. Diet and exercise matter for cancer prevention. Our Blog- American Institute of Cancer Research. 12th August 2016

Duration of Adulthood Overweight, Obesity, and Cancer Risk in the Women’s Health Initiative: A Longitudinal Study from the United States. Published 16th August 2016.

  • Melina Arnold ,
  • Luohua Jiang,
  • Marcia L. Stefanick,
  • Karen C. Johnson,
  • Dorothy S. Lane,
  • Erin S. LeBlanc,
  • Ross Prentice,
  • Thomas E. Rohan,
  • Beverly M. Snively,
  • Mara Vitolins,
  • Oleg Zaslavsky,
  • Isabelle Soerjomataram,
  • Hoda Anton-Culver

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