The more you understand about any subject, the more interesting it becomes. As you read this article you’ll find that the subject of cancer is certainly no exception.
We hear it all the time lose weight for your health. Few people however, realize the extent to which this is critical to their physical well-being and ultimately their life expectancy.
In January 2003, the Journal of the American Medical Association featured a study finding that obesity appears to lessen life expectancy, especially among young adults. The researchers compared Body-Mass Index (BMI) to longevity and found a correlation between premature death and higher BMIs.
For example, a 20-year-old white male, 5’10″ weighing 288 pounds with a BMI of greater than 40 was estimated to lose 13 years of his life as a result of obesity.Jamie McManus, M.D., F.A.A.F.P. and author of “Your Personal Guide to Wellness” notes that while this study referenced extreme levels of obesity, there are still millions of overweight people in developed countries with a life expectancy rate that is three to five years less than their healthy-weight counterparts. She also estimates that there are 600,000 obesity related deaths each year in America.
Just how does obesity shorten our lifespan? The answer to this question is complex, yet there is a clear link between obesity and the development of cancer. An extensive study conducted by the American Cancer Institute involving 750,000 people showed that obesity significantly increased the risk of cancer developing in the following organs: breast, colon, ovaries, uterus, pancreas, kidneys and gallbladder.
Michael Thun, MD, vice-president of epidemiology and surveillance research for the American Cancer Society (ACS) says one reason obesity may raise cancer risk is because fat cells produce a form of estrogen called estradiol that promotes rapid division of cells, increasing chances of a random genetic error while cells are replicating, which can lead to cancer. In addition, fat centered around the abdomen may increase insulin and insulin-like growth factors in the blood, which may increase cancer risk.
“Women who are obese after menopause have a 50% higher relative risk of breast cancer,” notes Thun, “and obese men have a 40% higher relative risk of colon cancer. Gallbladder and endometrial cancer risks are five times higher for obese individuals”.There is evidence that cancer rates in developed countries are increasing at 5 to 15 times faster than developing countries. A major contributor to this alarming reality has proven to be diet.