Lose Weight—Avoid Cancer
If you think losing excess body weight is just about looking and feeling better, think again. According to important recent research, obesity is on a par with tobacco smoking as a leading preventable cause of cancer.
Notice the word ‘preventable’.
Obesity is a cancer risk factor that you can change, to reduce your own risk of getting one of these dreaded diseases. In 2012, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a half million cases of cancer could have been prevented. Those cases were directly attributable to obesity. I find that shocking. A half million people were stricken with cancer who might still be healthy if they had managed to maintain normal body weight.
The study examined data gathered from a wide variety of people from around the world. No matter where you live, obesity is clearly a preventable cause of cancer. That said, it should be mentioned that North America provided the greatest number of new cases of cancer. Of course, North America also has seen one of the steepest increases in people who are overweight or obese.
A study commissioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation found that diets low in fruit, nut, and seed consumption were linked to a greater risk of death. Low consumption of other healthful foods, such as omega-3 fatty acid-rich seafood, and high-fiber whole grains, were also associated with an increased risk of death. Conversely, higher consumption of sodium, red meats and processed meats were also linked to a greater risk of death. The extensive study also confirmed that eating less saturated fat is not enough to lower one’s risk of death, especially if you do not also decrease your consumption of simple carbohydrates. In other words, as I’ve always said, if there’s one real culprit in the average person’s diet, it’s sugar.
Dr Melina Arnold from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), said, in a press release, "Our findings add support for a global effort to address the rising trends in obesity. The global prevalence of obesity in adults has doubled since 1980. If this trend continues it will certainly boost the future burden of cancer…”
Lim SS1, Vos T, et al. A comparative risk assessment of burden of disease and injury attributable to 67 risk factors and risk factor clusters in 21 regions, 1990-2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. Lancet. 2012 Dec 15;380(9859):2224-60. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)61766-8.
Melina Arnold, Nirmala Pandeya, Graham Byrnes, Andrew G Renehan, Gretchen A Stevens, Majid Ezzati, Jacques Ferlay, J Jaime Miranda, Isabelle Romieu, Rajesh Dikshit, David Forman, Isabelle Soerjomataram. Global burden of cancer attributable to high body-mass index in 2012: a population-based study. The Lancet Oncology, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/S1470-2045(14)71123-4