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Obesity and Cancer

A link between obesity and cancer has been hypothesized for years, but now there is scientific evidence of a link. It is important to note that obesity raises the risk for a variety of diseases and ailments, including stroke, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and kidney failure. If one is obese, the risks of premature death are already very high. Added cancer risk should not be surprising. Weight loss doctors and researchers have long asserted that both cancer and obesity are linked to the same fundamental issue- not eating enough nutrient rich foods

New Research On The Link Between Obesity and cancer

There is a new study out of 1 million UK women, that finds that being overweight is to blame for about 5 percent of all cancer cases- about 6,000 out of the 120,000 cancers affecting British women each year. The study, by researchers from the University of Oxford, found that overweight and obese women are at higher risk of developing and dying from cancer, including breast cancer in postmenopausal women, colon cancer in premenopausal women, and pancreatic and kidney cancer generally.

"In the study, Reeves and colleagues looked at the relationship between body-mass index (BMI), and cancer in 1.2 million British women aged 50 to 64, who took part in the Million Women Study. In the U.K., about 23 percent of all women are obese and 34 percent are overweight, according to national statistics."

"During 5.4 years of follow-up, the researchers found more than 45,000 new cancers and more than 17,200 deaths from cancer. Being overweight or obese was linked to an increased incidence for all cancers combined, according to the report in the Nov. 7 online edition of the British Medical Journal." Being overweight or obese can significantly increase the risk of some cancers in women, Reeves' group found.

Specifically, obese and overweight women were twice as likely to develop endometrial cancer and cancer of the esophagus compared with normal weight women. In addition, overweight and obese women had a 53 percent greater risk of kidney cancer, a 50 percent greater risk of multiple myeloma and a 24 percent greater risk of pancreatic cancer compared with their normal weight counterparts. Obesity's link to cancer risk appeared to be associated with menopause for certain tumor types. For example, postmenopausal overweight or obese women had a 40 percent increased risk of developing breast cancer, while premenopausal and overweight women had a 61 percent increased risk of developing colorectal cancer, the researchers found. The rise in cancer risk for overweight and obese women mirrored findings reported last Wednesday by the American Institute for Cancer Research and the Britain-based World Cancer Research Fund.

In that review of 7,000 studies, researchers found a definite link between excess fat and cancers of the esophagus, pancreas, colon and rectum, endometrium and kidneys in all women, as well as breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Reeves' team also found that, in general, overweight and obese women were more likely to die from cancer once they developed the illness compared to slimmer women. The obesity-linked increase in the rate of cancer death was similar to the increase in cancer risk, the researchers reported. One expert said the findings highlight another reason to stay slim. "This study adds to the considerable body of evidence that shows the relationship between overweight obesity and cancer risk," said Eugenia E. Calle, managing director of analytic epidemiology at the American Cancer Society and author of an accompanying journal editorial.

The Role of Peer and Group Support In Changing Behavior

When you are ready to begin to lose weight in earnest, group and peer support are the most highly proven methods for success. It is one thing to learn how to lose weight and eat more healthy, it is another thing to put this into practice on a consistent basis. Friends and family are of limited use because there is only so much burden they can bear. Getting the support of an anonymous group of people each day can make the critical difference. Self-monitoring is the other method, backed by volumes of research, that is highly correlated with weight loss success. You keep a log of your food, exercise, goals and thoughts. When you do this each day it keeps you accountable to yourself, and brings this aspect of your life to the top of your mental agenda. When you are writing each day, you are thinking about the things you write about. This begins to change how you think and facilitates better decision making. When you make better decisions, and have a broad support network, you are very likely to lose weight for the long term. When you do both these things, the odds of success increase dramatically.

A free, online resource that facilities both social support and self-monitoring in an easy to use (and anonymous format) is PEERtrainer. You sign up, start or join small groups and teams. You log your food each day, and the others in your group see your log and provide support, motivation and accountability each day. It is like a virtual support group available on the internet whenever you need it. It is highly effective and has been featured in The New York Times, Fitness Magazine, Women's World, Business Week, ABC News, CNET, Fast Company...

Diets That Work

You have heard over and over that diets don't work. The traditional American idea of dieting is "portion control" or reducing your caloric intake. These approaches fail because you are only reducing portions of unhealthy and fatty foods. There are new diet approaches out there that seek to fundamentally change what you eat. These diets slash the amounts of saturated fats and sugar that you eat and radically increase the amount of plant-based foods. The Fat Smash Diet (by Dr Ian Smith) is one such popular approach, and Eat to Live by Dr Joel Fuhrman is another. These approaches are not about lowering carbs, or getting more protein or counting Weight Watcher points. They about fundamentally restructuring your eating habits. When you reorder your diet to eliminate processed foods, slash dairy and meat consumption and increase your intake of fruit, vegetables, beans, rice- you will lose weight and reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and a host of other diseases. Improper nutrition is at the root of most diseases. Animal based foods contain cholesterol and boost the levels in your body. Plants do not contain any, and help reduce levels in your body. As blood cholesterol levels decrease, cancers of the liver, rectum, colon, male lung, female lung, breast, childhood leukemia, adult leukemia, childhood brain, stomach and esophagus levels will decrease. The more you reduce meat, dairy and processed foods in your diets, the healthier you will be.

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