Obesity May Make Women More Susceptible to Cancers

A recent Los Angeles Times article has reported on new studies that linked obesity concerns to cancer.

Why You Should be Concerned About Weight

Studies show that:

  • Obese women are 24% more likely to develop certain cancers.
  • Obese women were almost twice as likely to develop kidney or endometrium cancer than normal weight women.
  • Women who gain more than 22 pounds in 5-8 years were more likely to have pancreatic cancer.

Recent Norwegian Study

A Norwegian study presented  at the yearly European Conference on Obesity, tracked over 100,000 women between age 30 and 70. The study showed that women who gain more than 22 pounds in 5-8 years were more likely to have pancreatic cancer. Women with substantial weight gain in a short time were also 40% more likely to have endometrial cancer, and 36% more likely to have post-menopausal breast cancer.

Other previous studies have also linked obesity to cancer; 13 types in particular, including cancers of the colon and rectum, ovaries, kidneys, liver, and more.  However, the Norwegian study found some of these links to be questionable.

In this recent study, ovarian and rectal cancers had no link to excess or rapid weight gain in the women they tracked. There was also no real significance between normal weight and obese women when it came to colon, rectal and kidney cancers.  That’s all good news, but there are still obesity-related health concerns, and it’s clear that to live a long and healthy life, it’s best for women to maintain a healthy weight.

What is a healthy weight?

In medicine, we often talk about something called a BMI – or Body Mass Index –  as a way of determining if someone has a healthy weight.

Adult Body Mass Index or BMI

A BMI is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of her height in meters. Though this is typically calculated all in metric, there is also a formula for calculating BMI in numbers those of us here in the US are more used to working with – feet + inches and pounds.

A high BMI can be an indicator of that someone has too much fat in their body.  It is a screening tool that can we use as part of our diagnoses but doesn’t present a complete picture alone. When thinking about your weight and overall health, you want to take into consideration a lot of factors including diet, activity level, general energy levels, as well as your BMI.

When calculating BMI, we use the following scale:

BMI Chart

A weight that is higher than what is considered as a healthy weight for a given height is described as overweight or obese. A weight that is lower than what is considered as healthy for a given height is described as underweight.  It’s important to note that medical professionals don’t use these terms to hurt your feelings – they help us to identify any potential problems so that we can work together to solve them before something bigger comes up!

Benefits to Weight Loss

There are also numerous benefits to Weight Loss, like lowering your BMI and starting a healthy lifestyle. Other benefits include:

  • Cancer prevention: virtually every form of cancer
  • Disease control: bad pregnancies, coronary, stroke, diabetes, and osteoarthritis, to name a few
  • Longevity: reduction in age-related hormone level changes
  • Gene health: repair damaged genes
  • Brain: combat Alzheimer’s, dementia, and memory loss
  • Mood: elevate mood and suppress anxiety
  • Insulin resistance: re-sensitize cells to insulin to burn fat